Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
Criminal Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
Case No. 2016 CR 000571.
Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, Lake County
Administration and Stephanie G. Snevel, Special Prosecutor,
Charles R. Grieshammer, Lake County Public Defender, and
Vanessa R. Clapp, Assistant Public Defender, (For
TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.
Appellant, Anthony T. Long, appeals from the July 11, 2017
judgment entry of sentence of the Lake County Court of Common
Pleas. The trial court's judgment is affirmed in part and
reversed in part, and the matter is remanded.
On November 18, 2016, appellant was indicted on two counts of
Aggravated Burglary, first-degree felonies, in violation of
R.C. 2911.11(A)(1) (Counts 1 & 3) and two counts of
Burglary, second-degree felonies, in violation of R.C.
2911.12(A)(1) (Counts 2 & 4). Appellant entered a plea of
not guilty. Count 2 was dismissed prior to trial at the
request of appellee, the state of Ohio. The charges were
renumbered: Count 1, Aggravated Burglary; Count 2, Aggravated
Burglary; and Count 3, Burglary.
On May 23, 2017, the matter proceeded to a jury trial. The
state presented testimony from the victims, Clara Thomas and
her son, AT., and from Erica Lansberry, Joseph Forman, Isaiah
Haynes, and Patrolman William Sickles.
Erica Lansberry testified that on March 6, 2016, she lived at
the Brentwood Apartments with Joseph Forman and her four
children. Clara Thomas was her neighbor. One of the bedrooms
in Erica's apartment shared a wall with Clara's
At dusk on March 6, 2016, while she was outside smoking a
cigarette in front of her apartment building, Erica saw four
people, three males and one younger female, come around the
corner. Erica testified they seemed upset. She saw the three
males enter the building; the female remained outside. Erica
described the three males entering the building as follows:
(1) "tall, thin, white and very tall actually"; (2)
"light-colored skin, African American * * * a couple
inches taller than the first boy"; and (3) "African
American, darker skin, shorter in stature than the other two
and he had on a black and red jacket." Erica explained
that at the time she did not know the identities of any of
the people she described; however, she learned them later.
In court, Erica identified appellant as one of the people she
saw on that evening.
Erica testified that after the three males entered the
building, they went to the downstairs apartment where
Erica's old neighbor and friend, Alisha, lived. They
spoke with Alisha's son, Isaiah. Erica could not hear the
conversation they had with Isaiah, but she saw Isaiah go
upstairs with them. Erica observed that while the others
appeared to go up the stairs in a hurry, Isaiah lagged
Erica testified that she saw the group stand in the hallway
at the top of the stairwell outside the closed door of
Clara's apartment unit. Isaiah stood back from the rest
of the group and was doing something on his phone; he looked
distracted from what was going on in front of him. Erica saw
an arm reach out and knock on the door of Clara's unit.
She thought it was Isaiah that knocked on the door, but she
could not be positive.
Erica explained that she looked away for a "split
second" but turned back to look at the top of the stairs
because she was always afraid her children may come out of
her apartment. She saw the "skinny white guy" kick
in the door. She heard a loud bang and saw the three males
enter the apartment. Erica testified that Isaiah remained
behind, looked shocked when the door was kicked open, and
went back downstairs to his apartment. Erica was still
standing outside but heard what she described as "a lot
of yelling other noises besides yelling" going on within
Erica testified that she saw Joseph exit their apartment and
go into Clara's unit. She did not want to get involved
and waited a minute to see if everyone was okay. After Joseph
entered the unit, Erica saw "the tall thin white
boy" and "the other taller boy" run out of the
apartment and down the stairs. Erica identified the boys as
"Andrew and a boy named [K.L.]." She saw them knock
on the door of Isaiah's apartment. She testified that by
this time, she had the door to the building open and was
trying to figure out what was happening. She heard Andrew and
K.L. talking to Isaiah. Andrew and K.L. then exited the
building and went around the corner to where the younger
female was standing.
Erica went upstairs to check on Joseph and Clara. She
testified that the door to Clara's unit was open and she
saw Joseph walk through the apartment, exit, and go back into
their apartment. She remained in the living room of
Clara's apartment. She saw Clara's son holding the
side of his head and pacing back and forth, in and out of his
bedroom. When she asked if he was okay, his reply was
Erica explained that the apartment looked in disarray. She
saw Clara "peeking" her head out of what appeared
to Erica as a closet or bathroom in Clara's bedroom.
Clara appeared "shaken up." Erica saw appellant
with Clara and asked Clara three times whether she was okay.
Clara indicated she was. She did not observe any injury to
Clara. Erica did not speak with appellant.
Erica did not call the police on the night of the incident.
She did, however, give a statement to the police on March 12,
Joseph Forman testified that on March 6, 2016, he lived in
the Brentwood Apartments with Erica and her children. They
lived next door to Clara.
On the night of the incident, Joseph was putting one of the
children to bed, when he heard a loud thump against the wall.
He alerted Erica something was going on next door. He walked
out and saw the door of Clara's apartment had been
damaged. When he walked into the apartment, he saw a young
African American male, approximately 15 years old, in the
hallway. There was a Caucasian male, who looked a little
older, in front of the bedroom. Joseph testified that as the
two males walked out of the apartment, the Caucasian male
walked up to him, got in his face, and made racial remarks.
Joseph told the male he did not want any problems and to get
out. Joseph walked towards voices he heard at the back of the
apartment. AT., who was sitting on the bed in his bedroom,
looked distraught. After Joseph asked whether he was okay,
AT. indicated he was fine.
Joseph testified that when he walked into the back bedroom,
he saw an African American male standing in the bedroom. He
had never seen the man before and knew he did not live in the
building. Clara was in the closet. The closet was torn up,
and Joseph testified he could tell something had happened.
Clara looked shaken, was crying, and could barely speak; her
shirt was not on, and she was attempting to cover herself
with something she was holding. When Joseph first asked Clara
whether she was okay, she did not respond and looked in the
direction of the man. Joseph was concerned about the reason
the man was in Clara's room, so Joseph asked him whether
he was supposed to be there and told him he should leave. The
second time Joseph asked whether Clara was okay, he could
hear the trembling in her voice as she responded she was
fine. He asked the man to leave again. The man responded he
belonged there and was trying to deal with the situation. At
that time, Clara "said something" to Joseph, and
Joseph left the apartment.
In court, Joseph identified appellant as the man he had seen
in the bedroom in Clara's apartment.
On cross-examination, Joseph testified there was a younger
female in the apartment building at the bottom of the
stairwell. He did not know who she was, but he felt things
calmed down after she and the two younger males had exited
the building. Joseph returned to his apartment, then went out
to have a smoke and observe what was happening. He spoke with
Clara later that evening.
Joseph testified that he did not call the police because he
feared retaliation, and he did not recall seeing any police
at the apartment that night. He explained that in that area
there were problems with violent crime. The police contacted
him the following day, and he provided a statement.
Isaiah Haynes testified that he is 19 years old, and that on
March 6, 2016, he was living in the Brentwood Apartments with
his mother, brother, and sisters. That evening, while he was
on the phone with his girlfriend, he heard a knock at the
door. He was not expecting visitors. At the door were
appellant, K.L., and T.L. Isaiah testified that appellant
raised him and is his cousin, although not a blood relation;
K.L. is a blood-related cousin; and T.L. is also a cousin.
Isaiah testified that Andrew Clelland also showed up at his
apartment at some point, but he did not arrive there at the
same time as appellant, K.L., and T.L.; Isaiah and Andrew
"grew up like brothers."
Isaiah explained that they engaged in "family
talk," but the conversation got right to the point, and
appellant asked Isaiah if he knew AT. and where AT. lived.
After informing them AT. lived upstairs, Isaiah led the group
to A.T.'s apartment where AT. lived with his mother,
Clara Thomas. Isaiah knocked on the door, and when AT. asked
who was there, Isaiah identified himself. Isaiah testified
that when AT. opened the door, K.L. "peeked
around," looked at AT., and punched him in the face. AT.
said something along the lines of "That's why we got
your sister.'" The group then looked at each other,
entered the apartment, and a fight broke out between AT.,
K.L., and Andrew. Clara came running out of her room and into
the hallway of the apartment. She was yelling at them to stop
fighting and that she was pregnant. At that point, appellant
ran into the apartment and put his body between Clara's
body and the fight. AT. got away from Andrew and K.L. and ran
into his mother's walk-in closet. Everyone else followed
him into the closet where Clara stood on the left side.
Isaiah testified he saw Andrew hit AT. After the fight, AT.
was on the floor curled up in a ball, and Isaiah heard Andrew
screaming and yelling at the neighbors.
Isaiah explained that while he was at the door of AT. and
Clara's apartment, he was talking to his girlfriend on
speaker phone. He was not looking at the door. Isaiah did not
see Andrew kick in the apartment door, and he did not hear
the door get kicked. While they were in the apartment, Isaiah
saw K.L. and Andrew hitting AT., but he did not see Clara get
hit or pushed against the wall of the closet. Clara was
wearing a red robe with a design on it, and she was yelling
and crying and appeared "livid" about the incident.
Isaiah did not observe any injury to Clara but knew his
mother took Clara to the hospital after the incident.
Isaiah further testified he had no knowledge that K.L. or
appellant wanted to fight AT. but stated he assumed K.L.
would want to fight AT. due to something that happened to
K.L.'s sister. Isaiah testified he knew something had
happened with K.L.'s sister at least a week or two prior
to the fight with AT., but he "was just told not to say
Isaiah talked to the police the next day and provided a
written statement about the incident. Isaiah was not arrested
AT. testified he is 16 years old. On March 6, 2016, he was 14
years old and lived in the Brentwood Apartments with his
mother, Clara Thomas. After going to church and his
grandmother's house, he and his mother returned to
Brentwood in the evening. He heard a knock at the door and
went to answer it. Isaiah, his downstairs neighbor, was at
the door with some other people. One of the people was
Caucasian with a beard and a mustache. AT. knew his name was
"Drew." AT. testified there was also a young
female, a male teen, and an adult male at the door. In court,
AT. identified appellant as the adult.
When AT. answered the door the teen punched him, AT. fell to
the floor, and the teen and the Caucasian male punched and
kicked him. AT. testified he then ran back to his
mother's room. His mother was lying in bed. AT. ended up
on the closet floor where they punched and kicked him again.
He explained that his mother tried to get them off him, and
the adult pushed her into the wall on the left side of the
closet. Isaiah, the teen, and the Caucasian male scattered
and left the ...