from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas C.P.C. No.
O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Michael P. Walton, for
W. Barstow, for appellant.
Michael P. Walton.
1} Defendant-appellant, Lamar D. Reynolds, appeals
from a judgment of conviction and sentence entered by the
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas following a jury trial.
For the following reasons, we affirm that judgment.
2} On October 6, 2017, appellant was indicted on one
count of murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A) (purposely
causing the death of another), one count of murder in
violation of R.C 2903.02(B) (felony murder), and one count of
having weapons while under disability in violation of R.C.
2923.13. Both murder counts contained three-year firearm
specifications pursuant to R.C. 2941.145(A). The indictment
arose out of the shooting death of Damon Jenkins on September
3} On defense counsel's motion, the trial court
ordered a competency evaluation for appellant. Following that
evaluation, the trial court determined that appellant was
competent to stand trial. The matter thereafter was tried to
a jury in June 2018, at which the following evidence was
4} In May 2009, Jenkins and his wife purchased a
barbershop on East Livingston Avenue. In April 2017,
appellant, a licensed barber, began renting a chair in the
5} Gail Heard-Frazier lived next door to the
barbershop and was acquainted with appellant. On September
30, 2017, she was in her home when she heard a single
gunshot, followed by "six more." (Tr. at 189.) She
opened her front door and saw appellant standing in the
middle of the street holding a pistol and "shouting
about they tried to take his child away from him."
Id. at 191. Appellant then went inside the
6} Columbus Police Officers Kevin Yankovich and
Aaron McDonald were separately dispatched to the carry-out
located across the street from the barbershop on a reported
shooting. Yankovich was the first to arrive; he entered the
store and observed a man bleeding on the floor. The man had
what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the leg; he was
"in and out of consciousness" and unable to answer
questions. Id. at 155. Several persons inside the
carry-out told Yankovich that the suspected shooter was in
the barbershop located across the street. Yankovich did not
see a weapon inside the carry-out.
7} When McDonald arrived at the scene, Yankovich
directed him to the barbershop. Appellant was standing
outside; McDonald patted him down and took him into custody.
As a result of the patdown, McDonald recovered a bag of
marijuana, a gun clip, and a holster. No weapons were
recovered from appellant's person.
8} Matt Tschirner, a firefighter/paramedic with the
Columbus Fire Department, responded to the scene of the
shooting. Upon arrival, he observed a trail of blood leading
from the barbershop to the carry-out. Tschirner entered the
carry-out and observed a man bleeding on the floor. The man
was barely conscious; his speech was incomprehensible.
Tschirner observed gunshot wounds in the man's left thigh
and right calf. Despite Tschirner's emergency treatment,
the man died on the way to the hospital. Tschirner did not
observe any weapons on the man or in or around the area of
9} On September 30, 2017, Columbus Police Detective
Lisa Swisher of the Crime Scene Search Unit
("CSSU") photographed and collected evidence from
both the carry-out and the barbershop. The evidence collected
included three spent shell casings found in the backyard
outside the rear exit of the barbershop, and an unloaded gun
and loaded gun clip found on the counter inside the
barbershop. Thereafter, on October 5, 2017, Columbus Police
Detective Yvonne Taliaferro of the CSSU collected five spent
shell casings from the area outside the rear exit of the
10} Amy Amstutz, a forensic scientist in the
firearms section of the Columbus Police Crime Laboratory,
test-fired the gun recovered from the barbershop and found it
to be operable. Upon testing, she determined that the eight
shell casings recovered from the scene were fired from that
11} Dr. John A. Daniels, a deputy coroner and
forensic pathologist in the Franklin County Coroner's
Office, performed an autopsy on Jenkins on October 2, 2017
and issued a report of his findings. According to Dr.
Daniels, Jenkins died from a gunshot wound to his left lower
thigh that nicked the popliteal artery, causing him to bleed
to death. He further noted two additional gunshot wounds-one
to the left thigh and one to the right lower leg. Dr. Daniels
determined the manner of death to be homicide.
12} Columbus Police Detective Eric Wooten, the lead
detective in the case, interviewed appellant following his
arrest; the interview was videotaped. Over appellant's
objection, the state played the videotaped interview for the
jury. (State's Ex. B1.) During the interview, appellant
asserted that he rented a chair in Jenkins' barbershop,
and that Jenkins allowed him to live there. On September 30,
2017, Jenkins appeared at the barbershop to collect rent
money appellant owed him. Appellant admitted that he
(appellant) had a gun on him at the time. The two men began
arguing; the verbal argument soon turned physical. The fight
escalated; they eventually ended up on the ground in the
backyard of the barbershop. Jenkins got on top of appellant
and tried to take appellant's gun from him. Appellant
fired three shots. Two hit Jenkins in the legs-one hit
Jenkins as he attempted to climb a fence. The third shot hit
Jenkins' car. Jenkins then ran through the barbershop
into the carry-out across the street. Appellant thought
Jenkins wanted appellant to follow him so that Jenkins could
shoot appellant in the carry-out. Appellant followed Jenkins,
but stopped in the middle of the street and yelled at Jenkins
to come out of the store. Appellant stated that had Jenkins
come out of the carry-out with a gun, appellant would have
shot at him again. When Jenkins did not emerge from the
carry-out, appellant went back into the barbershop, unloaded
his gun, removed the clip, and placed them on the counter. He
then waited for the police to arrive.
13} At trial, appellant testified on his own behalf.
According to appellant, he first met Jenkins when the two
were incarcerated in federal prison in 2001. Appellant was
released from prison in 2006 and became a licensed barber in
2009. In April 2017, at Jenkins' request, appellant began
working in Jenkins' barbershop; Jenkins also permitted
appellant to live there. Appellant paid Jenkins a weekly fee
to cover his barber chair rental and his living arrangement.
Jenkins suggested that appellant sell heroin, cocaine, and
other controlled substances out of the barbershop. Appellant
declined to do so because he had already gone to prison for
selling cocaine and did not want to "put [himself] in
jeopardy." Id. at 379. He admitted, however,
that he sold marijuana. Jenkins sold appellant a gun so that
appellant could protect himself from crime in the
14} Prior to the day of the shooting, Jenkins and
appellant sometimes argued about landlord/tenant issues. On
the day of the shooting, Jenkins entered the barbershop and
started rummaging through appellant's personal
belongings. Appellant assumed Jenkins was searching for rent
money. Appellant wanted to get Jenkins out of the barbershop,
so he told him he would pay him outside. Appellant walked out
the back door; Jenkins remained inside. Appellant put the
rent money in Jenkins' truck and went back inside the
barbershop. Appellant averred Jenkins was "still
argumentative," so appellant retrieved the money from
the truck, gave it to Jenkins, and asked him to leave.
Id. at 388. Jenkins then pushed appellant out the
back door; appellant pushed him back, and the two began
fighting. Appellant noted that Jenkins was "heavyset
[and] knows how to fight." Id. at 393.
15} At some point, Jenkins ended up on the ground.
Appellant tapped him on the head and told him he did not want
to fight. Jenkins then "attacked" appellant and
reached for the gun appellant was carrying. Id. at
395. Appellant felt he needed to defend himself because he
thought Jenkins was going to take his gun and shoot him with
it. Indeed, appellant testified that "I was in fear of
my life at the time." Id. at 396.
16} According to appellant, the struggle for the gun
lasted two or three minutes. Appellant eventually gained
control of the gun and pointed it at Jenkins. When Jenkins
lunged for the gun, appellant shot him in the left leg. He
thought shooting him in the leg would end the struggle for
the gun; however, Jenkins stood up and began "[m]ean
mugging" (staring) at appellant. Id. at 399.
Because Jenkins acted like he had not been shot, appellant
thought the bullet must have missed him. Jenkins again
reached for appellant's gun; appellant shot him again,
this time in the right leg. Appellant averred that he shot
Jenkins the second time to keep Jenkins from harming him.
Apparently realizing he had been shot, Jenkins started
running; appellant did not shoot at Jenkins while he was
17} Appellant averred that he knew Jenkins owned
several guns, and "I just believed he had a gun, and I
didn't have nowhere to go. I couldn't retreat or run
from the incident." Id. at 400-01. According to
appellant, Jenkins ran in circles around the backyard and
then ran toward the fence; he made several unsuccessful
attempts at climbing the fence while looking back at
appellant. At this point, appellant did not feel threatened
or fear for his safety, so he did not feel that it was
necessary to retreat. However, Jenkins soon ran toward
appellant and tried to "ram" him. Id. at
404. Appellant did not feel the need to retreat because he
was in his own home; however, when Jenkins got close to him,
appellant shot him in the leg a third time because he
"believed he must be trying to get my gun or trying to
react or do something to me. I'm like 'Bro, I shot
you two times, and you still attacking me after I shot you
two times.'" Id. at 405.
18} Jenkins then ran inside the barbershop and stood
at the front door for about one minute. Appellant did not
feel as if he was in danger at this point, so he did not fire
any additional shots at Jenkins. Jenkins then ran out the
front door. Shortly thereafter, appellant walked outside and
stood in the middle of the street, anticipating the arrival
of the police. Appellant still had his gun and began
screaming "about the situation." Id. at
412. Appellant was scared because he did not know how
Jenkins' friends or neighbors would respond to him
shooting Jenkins; he went outside because he was aware of a
nearby city crime camera and wanted any encounter with
Jenkins or others to be captured on videotape.
19} Appellant eventually went back inside the
barbershop. He walked out the back door and fired a shot at
Jenkins' truck. When he heard police sirens, he went back
inside, emptied the gun of bullets, and removed the clip. He
placed these items on the counter because he did not want the
police to perceive him as a threat when they arrived.
20} After he was taken into custody, he agreed to an
interview because he did not want the police to think he was
"hiding something." Id. at 417. According
to appellant, "I was just trying to bring some closure
to the case, and I didn't want [Wooten] to think that I
intended to kill [Jenkins]." Id.
21} Appellant testified that he was never angry at
Jenkins, he just "reacted in fear to defend
[myself]." Id. at 418. Indeed, appellant
averred that "[e]very time [I] shot Damon Jenkins, [I]
did it to protect [my] life * * * [b]ecause [I] really
believed that he was going to get [my] gun and kill
22} Appellant admitted that he shot Jenkins; he
expressed remorse over killing him. Indeed, he averred that
he "didn't intend to kill him and do this to his
family" and that "I know if you shoot somebody, you
got the intent to die, but I didn't expect him to
die." Id. at 377-38.
23} On cross-examination, the state questioned
appellant extensively about inconsistencies between his trial
testimony and the information he provided Wooten in the
interview. Although he admitted that he failed to mention
certain details during the interview, he averred that he was
truthful during both the interview and at trial. When
questioned as to why the photographs taken of him during the
interview did not depict any injuries to his hands or face,
appellant explained that he "never hit [Jenkins] and
there wasn't no fight; it was more of a wrestle * * *
with an attempt to snag my gun from the waistline."
Id. at 434. He averred he shot Jenkins three times
because he "was in fear for my life that he was going to
get the gun and kill me." Id. at 435. When
asked why he did not leave the backyard after he twice shot
Jenkins, he averred he "was still in fear for my life,
and Jenkins had a gun." Id. at 437.
24} Following deliberations, the jury returned
verdicts finding appellant not guilty of murder as charged in
Count 1 of the indictment (purposeful murder), but guilty of
murder as charged in Count 2 of the indictment (felony
murder), as well as the attached firearm specification, and
guilty of having weapons while under disability as charged in
Count 3 of the indictment. By judgment entry filed June 15,
2018, the trial court sentenced appellant to an aggregate
prison term of 18 years to life.
25} On appeal, appellant sets forth two assignments
of error for this court's review:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND DEPRIVED APPELLANT OF DUE
PROCESS OF LAW AS GUARANTEED BY THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT TO
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUION AND ARTICLE ONE SECTION TEN OF
THE OHIO CONSTITUTION BY FINDING HIM GUILTY OF MURDER AND
HAVING WEAPONS WHILE UNDER DISABILITY AS THOSE VERDICTS WERE
NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE AND WERE ALSO AGAINST
THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND DENIED
APPELLANT A FAIR TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS OF LAW AS GUARANTEED
BY THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES
CONSTITUION BY REQUIRING HIM TO APPEAR AT ALL STAGES OF HIS
JURY TRIAL IN HANDCUFFS AND LEG SHACKLES.
26} In his first assignment of error, appellant
contends his convictions for murder and having weapons while
under disability are not supported by sufficient evidence and
are against the manifest weight of the evidence. We disagree.
27} Sufficiency of the evidence is a legal standard
that tests whether the evidence is legally adequate to
support a verdict. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d
380, 386 (1997). Whether the evidence is legally sufficient
to support a verdict is a question of law, not fact.
Id. In determining whether the evidence is legally
sufficient to support a conviction," '[t]he relevant
inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light
most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact
could have found the essential elements of the crime proven
beyond a reasonable doubt.'" State v.
Robinson,124 Ohio St.3d 76, 2009-Ohio-5937, ¶ 34,
quoting State v. Jenks,61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991),
paragraph two of the syllabus. "A verdict will not be
disturbed unless, after viewing the evidence in a light most
favorable to the prosecution, it is apparent ...