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State v. Bitting

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

June 12, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
DARNELL LEWIS BITTING Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR-2018-03-0709

          DONALD R. HICKS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO GUEST, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          CALLAHAN, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Darnell Bitting, appeals from his convictions in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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.

         {¶6} Mr. Bitting now appeals from his convictions and raises one assignment of error for review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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