Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Municipal Court TRIAL
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Ronald
Springman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Sarah
E. Nelson, Assistant Public Defender, for
Appellant David Cruzbaez appeals from the municipal
court's judgment finding him guilty of aggravated
menacing and sentencing him to 180 days of community control
suspended for 1 year, treatment if eligible, and a $2000
In two assignments of error, Cruzbaez argues the trial court
erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal
because the state's evidence was insufficient to sustain
a conviction and his conviction under R.C. 2903.21(A) was
contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. For the
following reasons, we overrule Cruzbaez's assignments of
error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
One night, while Cruzbaez and his girlfriend, Cierra Waddell,
were out on a date, Waddell complained to Cruzbaez that her
roommate, Amber Tucker, was behind on her portion of the rent
and the electric bill. Waddell, Tucker, and Tucker's
16-month-old daughter recently had moved into a townhouse
together, and within two months, Tucker was unable to afford
the rent and wanted to break the lease.
When the couple arrived at the townhouse around 10:30 p.m.,
Waddell collected the mail, which included the electric bill.
She learned that the electric bill was two-months overdue and
the electric would be cut off the next month if not paid.
Waddell testified that this made her upset because she was
struggling financially. Cruzbaez testified that he felt like
this was the last straw and that Tucker was just using
Waddell for money.
Cruzbaez and Waddell decided to wake up Tucker to talk about
the situation, despite the fact that Tucker was already
asleep in her bedroom. Tucker testified that Cruzbaez,
"Came into my room, pulled me out of bed, kept yelling
that we need to talk about the electric bill." After
Cruzbaez left the room, Tucker got out of bed and walked next
door to Waddell's room, where the couple was waiting.
According to Tucker, Cruzbaez "started screaming about
the bills, how I needed to get out." During his
testimony, Cruzbaez agreed that they did have raised voices
back and forth.
Tucker left Waddell's room and walked past her own room
to her daughter's room with Cruzbaez following her
continuing to yell and scream. Tucker started packing to
leave. She testified that she intended to leave so Cruzbaez
would have time to sober up and they could resolve the
situation when he was no longer intoxicated. Cruzbaez denied
that he was intoxicated and testified that he only had one
beer that night.
Cruzbaez returned to Waddell's room, which shared a wall
with Tucker's room. It is unclear from the testimony
whether he shut the door. Tucker testified, "While I was
packing and that is when he made the statement that he had a
9mm gun in his car and I can call who I wanted. He'd
shoot me and the baby, whoever I brought, and that's when
I got my belongings and took them to the car." Tucker
left with her daughter and called the police. She testified
that she was scared and took Cruzbaez's statement as a
threat because she did not know what he was capable of.
Cruzbaez and Waddell testified that Cruzbaez never threatened
Tucker and he did not even own a gun. An officer who arrived
on the scene testified that a gun was never ...