FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-03-0709
R. HICKS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO
GUEST, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Defendant-Appellant, Darnell Bitting, appeals from his
convictions in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This
Mr. Bitting was arrested as a result of a tragic shooting
that occurred late one evening in Akron. He was spending that
evening at a home on Mercer Avenue when a woman with whom he
was having a sexual relationship came to the house. The woman
("Mother") had her four children with her, but left
them in her car with the grandmother of two of the children.
Once the grandmother and the children departed, Mother
approached the house on foot.
Mother brought a hammer with her and ultimately used it to
break several of the house's porch windows. Mr. Bitting,
who was in the front living room at the time, retrieved an
AK47 and carried it to the front door. Mother ran from the
porch and spotted her car coming down the street. As the car
approached the front of the house and Mother ran toward it,
Mr. Bitting fired his rifle. The bullet traversed the yard,
entered the car's open rear passenger window, and
bypassed three of Mother's children before striking the
fourth child in the head and killing her. The police
apprehended Mr. Bitting the following afternoon.
A grand jury indicted Mr. Bitting on one count of murder, one
count of felony murder, six counts of felonious assault, one
count of having a weapon under disability, and eight
attendant firearm specifications. Before his trial commenced,
Mr. Bitting pleaded guilty to having a weapon under
disability. His remaining counts and specifications were
tried to a jury with Mr. Bitting testifying in his own
defense. Though he asked the court to instruct the jury on
self-defense, the court refused to tender the instruction.
The jury then found Mr. Bitting guilty on each of the
submitted counts and specifications.
Mr. Bitting subsequently filed a motion for a new trial,
citing the trial court's error in refusing to instruct
the jury on self-defense. The State responded in opposition
and, upon review of the written filings, the court denied Mr.
Bitting's motion. The court sentenced him to a total of
54 years to life in prison.
Mr. Bitting now appeals from his convictions and raises one
assignment of error for review.