Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula
Criminal Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common
Pleas, Case No. 2017 CR 00373.
Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley
M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).
Christopher J. Boeman, P.O. (For Defendant-Appellant).
JANE TRAPP, J.
Appellant, Kyle Robert Crytzer ("Mr. Crytzer"),
appeals from the judgment of the Ashtabula County Court of
Common Pleas, which sentenced him to an eleven-year prison
sentence after a jury found him guilty of two counts of
aggravated arson and one count of domestic violence.
Mr. Crytzer contends the trial court abused its discretion
and he received ineffective assistance of counsel because a
recorded statement made by the victim shortly after the house
fire was not played for the jury and because the trial court
encouraged the jury to deliberate quickly so the trial would
be finished in one day.
A thorough review of the record reveals Mr. Crytzer's
assignments of error are without merit. First, the
victim's statements to the investigator were not
inconsistent with her trial testimony. Second, while the
trial court did inquire if the jury was available and willing
to deliberate into the evening so they would not have to
return the following day, we find the trial court did not
pressure the jury to rush into a decision, and there is no
evidence the jury did not seriously consider the charges
against Mr. Crytzer.
and Procedural History
On a summer evening in 2017, the victim, Danyelle Mullins
("Ms. Mullins"), planned a "girl's night
out" with her friend, Chelsea Tuttle ("Ms.
Tuttle"). They were in a downtown Ashtabula tavern when
Mr. Crytzer texted Ms. Mullins, his ex-girlfriend and mother
of his three-year old child, asking if he could join them.
Ms. Mullins agreed, and he met them at the first tavern. The
three then went into several more bars, and on to the way to
the third, Mr. Crytzer left the two ladies and went in the
other direction to meet a friend.
Ms. Mullins and Ms. Tuttle decided to order a pizza to be
delivered to Ms. Mullins' home and stopped at one more
bar. The two shared a drink and noticed Mr. Crytzer sitting
alone in a booth watching them. Mr. Crytzer walked back with
them to Ms. Mullins' home. Ms. Mullins and Mr. Crytzer
argued on her porch. He pushed his way inside and grabbed a
piece of pizza. The two ladies then pushed him out of the
house. Mr. Crytzer was outside on the porch, knocking on the
windows and the door. He screamed that "he was gonna
light the house on fire."
Scared, the two ladies ran upstairs. Ms. Mullins called her
brother, and Ms. Tuttle called the police. The porch was on
fire, melting the siding. Ms. Mullins was able to extinguish
the fire with a couple of Gatorade bottles. Investigators
found orange-brown deck stain splashed all over the deck and
a neighbor's ladder propped up against the side of the
house going to a second story window.
Mr. Crytzer was seen standing shirtless with his dog
approximately two houses down, watching the fire, and was
apprehended a short while later. His jeans and hands had
orange-brown deck stain splattered on them, and he had a
lighter in his pocket. At trial, Captain Stephen Chase of the
City of Ashtabula Fire Department ("Captain Chase")
opined that the fire was caused by "the deck stain that
was splattered on the deck," which was ignited by an
"open flame device."
Captain Chase was the fire investigator who interviewed Ms.
Mullins regarding the night of the fire, and that interview
is the subject of assigned error in this appeal.
Mr. Crytzer was indicted on two counts of aggravated arson in
violation of R.C. 2909.02(A)(1) and R.C. 2909.02(A)(2),
felonies of the first and second degree, respectively;
breaking and entering in violation of R.C. 2911.13(B), a
felony of the fifth degree; attempted burglary in violation
of R.C. 2923.03(A)/2919.19(A)(1), a felony of the third
degree; and domestic violence in violation of R.C.
2919.25(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree.
There were two jury trials in this case. The first jury found
Mr. Cyrtzer not guilty of breaking and entering and attempted
burglary, but deadlocked on the remaining counts of
aggravated arson and domestic violence. The case was reset
for a new jury trial on the remaining counts.
At the second two-day trial, the state presented evidence and
the testimony of Ms. Mullins; Nikki Harson, Ms. Mullins'
neighbor who observed the fire; Mr. Crytzer standing watching
the fire with his dog a few houses down; Dustin Pal, Ms.
Mullins' brother whom Ms. Mullins called during the
incident; Ms. Tuttle; Patrolman Eric Massie, who was at the
scene; and Captain Chase. Mr. Crytzer presented the testimony
of Michael Alan Keyes and Danielle Colicchio, his alibi
After Ms. Mullins testified, the defense asked to play the
recorded interview between Captain Chase and Ms. Mullins for
the jury. The defense argued Ms. Mullins portrayed herself as
a virtuous woman on the stand, but in the interview she
admitted to Captain Chase she was quite intoxicated the
evening of the fire. Mr. Crytzer argued the statements made
by Ms. Mullins in her interview with Captain Chase were
inconsistent with her trial testimony. The trial court
reviewed the statements and found no inconsistencies.
Explaining the ruling, the trial court remarked, "I
didn't get the impression that someone that claims they
have two kids with two different guys and is not married and
had five drinks in four different bars in the course of an
evening portrayed herself incredibly virtuous. That isn't
the impression I got from her; and she didn't deny that
she made the statements you claim she did, she just said she
doesn't recall." The trial court also noted,
"[a]n omission is not an inconsistent statement."
After the trial court denied the request to play the
recording for the jury, defense ...