FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2016-07-2358
M. MEDVICK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
S. CALLAHAN, JUDGE.
Fred Taylor, Jr. appeals from his convictions in the Summit
County Common Pleas Court. This Court affirms.
On Memorial Day 2016, Mr. Taylor was at a cookout at an
apartment complex on Nadia Court in Akron, commonly referred
to as the Rosemary Apartments. There were multiple cookouts
occurring at the apartment complex that day. The cookout that
Mr. Taylor attended included the victim, Javon Knaff, and two
witnesses who testified at trial, D.H.-B. and T.O.
At some point during the evening, D.H.-B. observed Mr. Taylor
and Mr. Knaff "bickering" over a cigarette. Later,
D.H.-B. saw Mr. Taylor and Mr. Knaff in a group in the
parking lot. At that point, Mr. Knaff was talking loudly and
there appeared to be "[s]omewhat" of a problem.
D.H.-B. testified that she was not paying a lot of attention
to the group because she was on her cell phone. But when she
heard a gunshot, she looked up. She then saw Mr. Taylor fire
more shots at Mr. Knaff. Mr. Knaff ran around the parking lot
screaming, "'I got shot. He tried to kill
me.'" When he got to D.H.-B., he fell on her. He was
crying as he told her, "'I don't want to
die'" and asked her to call his mother. D.H.-B.
applied pressure to Mr. Knaff s wounds in an attempt to stop
T.O. testified that 10 to 15 adults attended the cookout. She
observed both Mr. Taylor and Mr. Knaff together, but did not
see them argue. She was inside preparing plates for children
when the gunshots occurred.
Police received the call for shots fired shortly before 8:00
p.m. Officers Christopher Carson, Jeremy Sosenko, Justin
Brumbaugh, and Kyle Walter were the first responders to the
scene. Officer Sosenko asked Mr. Knaff who shot him. Rather
than answer the question, Mr. Knaff "just kept saying[,
] 'I'm dying.'" Officer Brumbaugh took over
applying pressure to Mr. Knaff s wounds until paramedics
arrived. During this time, Mr. Knaff just kept repeating
"'don't let me die.'"
An ambulance arrived within minutes. A paramedic testified
that Mr. Knaff was alert and oriented. He further testified
that, during the ambulance ride, Mr. Knaff appeared scared
and anxious and was asking "a lot if he was going to
die." The paramedic indicated that the wounds appeared
to be life-threatening.
Officer Walter rode in the ambulance to the hospital. Mr.
Knaff told him his name, date of birth, and social security
number. Mr. Knaff also told Officer Walter, "Fred shot
[me]." At the hospital, Mr. Knaff was taken into surgery
and died at 9:59 p.m.
That same night, shots were fired at the house of Mr.
Taylor's mother. Mr. Taylor fled the state. The next
month, Mr. Taylor ran from a traffic stop in West Virginia.
When he was apprehended, he gave police a false name, date of
birth, and social security number. Police ultimately
uncovered his identity through a photograph and fingerprints.
Mr. Taylor was indicted for murder in violation of R.C.
2903.02(A) ("purposeful murder"), murder in
violation of R.C. 2903.02(B) ("felony murder"),
felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1),
felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), and
having a weapon under disability in violation of R.C.
2923.13(A)(2). The murder and felonious assault counts also
included firearm specifications. Following a jury trial, Mr.
Taylor was found not guilty of the purposeful murder charge
and guilty of the remainder of the charges. The court merged
the felonious assaults and associated firearm specifications
into the felony-murder conviction and its associated firearm
specification. The court sentenced Mr. Taylor to 15 years to
life for murder, 3 consecutive years for the firearm
specification, and 3 concurrent years for having a weapon
Mr. Taylor appeals, raising three assignments of error.
OF ERROR NO. 1
TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF MR. TAYLOR BY ADMITTING
THE HEARSAY ...