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State v. Milum

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

July 27, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
NATHANIEL MILUM Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court Trial Court Case No. 16-CR-2149

          MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by SARAH E. HUTNIK, Atty. Reg. No. 0095900, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          JUSTIN M. MCMULLEN, Atty. Reg. No. 0088217, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          FROELICH, J.

         {¶ 1} Nathaniel Milum was found guilty after a jury trial in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas of unauthorized use of a vehicle in violation of R.C. 2913.03(B), a fifth-degree felony. Milum appeals from the trial court's judgment, claiming that his conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, the trial court's judgment will be affirmed.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} The State presented three witnesses at trial: Tajuana Tims, the owner of the vehicle; Officer Salli Jones, who took Tims's report; and Detective Kenneth Rondeau, who was assigned to the case. Their evidence established the following facts.

         {¶ 3} Tims was a casual friend of Milum, whom she knew as "Batman"; Milum had grown up with Tims's son. On June 26, 2016, Tims, Milum, and two other individuals, Stevie and Calvin, were "hanging out" together and drinking beer. The group later drove in Tims's vehicle, a beige Buick LaCrosse, to an address on West Third Street. Tims testified that she asked Milum "to go get us some crack and some beer," and she gave Milum her car keys. Tims expected Milum to run the errand and come back. Milum did not return.

         {¶ 4} Four days later, on June 30, 2016, Tims contacted her "car company" and the police to report her car stolen. Officer Jones responded and spoke with Tims. Tims reported to the officer that her car had been taken while she (Tims) was at a party. According to Jones, Tims stated that she (Tims) had fallen asleep and when she woke up, the vehicle was gone; a friend had advised Tims that Batman had taken the vehicle. On July 1, 2016, Detective Rondeau was assigned to the case.

         {¶ 5} On July 8, 2016, the GPS in Tims's vehicle was activated, and Detective Rondeau located her LaCrosse. Rondeau went to the address where the vehicle was located, observed the vehicle in a driveway, and requested assistance from a uniformed officer; Officer Jones, by coincidence, responded to the detective's request.

         {¶ 6} After Officer Jones arrived, Detective Rondeau made contact with Milum and told Milum that he was there about the car. Milum responded that he did not steal the car and that Tims had given him permission to drive it. Milum handed Rondeau the vehicle's keys as "proof" of Tims's permission. Rondeau told Milum that he would be taken to jail, and he permitted Milum to retrieve personal items from the trunk of the car.

         {¶ 7} Tims went to the location where the vehicle was found and received her keys from Detective Rondeau. Tims told the detective that she had allowed Milum to use the car in the past, but she had not given Milum permission to keep the car for so long. Tims later noticed damage to a side mirror.

         {¶ 8} On August 31, 2016, Milum was indicted for unauthorized use of a vehicle in violation of R.C. 2913.03(B). Milum was arrested on the indictment on July 14, 2017. The matter proceeded to a jury trial in September 2017, and the jury found Milum guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced him to 11 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution of $125 and court costs; the trial court subsequently suspended the order to pay court costs.

         {¶ 9} Milum appeals from his conviction, raising ...


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