from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 17CR-3403
O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Michael P. Walton, for
Michael P. Walton.
R. Venters, Public Defender, and George M. Schumann, for
1} Defendant-appellant, Lee C. Thompson, Jr.,
appeals from a judgment entry of the Franklin County Court of
Common Pleas finding him guilty, pursuant to jury verdict, of
one count of domestic violence. For the following reasons, we
Facts and Procedural History
2} By indictment filed June 20, 2017,
plaintiff-appellee, State of Ohio, charged Thompson with one
count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25, a
felony of the third degree; and one count of abduction in
violation of R.C. 2905.02, a felony of the third degree.
Thompson entered a plea of not guilty.
3} At a trial beginning January 21, 2018, the state
presented the testimony of only two witnesses. J.S. testified
she became romantically involved with Thompson and the two of
them lived together on Sullivant Avenue. Eventually, J.S. and
Thompson moved across the street and lived with a woman whom
Thompson referred to as mom, though she was not his
biological mother. J.S. said they lived in that house from
August 2016 to October or November 2016. In total, J.S.
testified her relationship with Thompson lasted three and
4} J.S. testified that during their relationship,
Thompson would hit her, push her up against the wall, and
smack her in the face. J.S. described one instance in which
she tried to leave and Thompson smacked her so hard that her
glasses broke. She said she was "[s]cared and
nervous" to see Thompson in court again because she had
not seen him since she left the relationship. (Tr. Vol. II at
5} J.S. then described an incident on November 20,
2016 in which she went with Thompson to his brother's
house to play cards and drink beer. After saying something
that upset Thompson, J.S. said she left the house and started
running away but Thompson chased her. J.S. said she ran in
front of traffic on Mound Street in an attempt to escape but
Thompson caught her and pushed her to the ground. At that
point, J.S. said Thompson had his knees on her lower back and
was pushing her head into the ground. J.S. testified that
Thompson then stood up and started kicking her in the ribs,
telling her "I told you I'd never put my hands on
you, but I never said nothing about my feet." (Tr. Vol.
II at 33.) After the altercation, J.S. said Thompson picked
her up and forced her back to his brother's residence.
6} J.S. said she did not leave Thompson immediately
because every time she had tried to leave him before, he
would become violent. The next day, J.S. went with Thompson
to another friend's house where she said she sat silently
because she was not "allowed" to speak. (Tr. Vol.
II at 37.) J.S. testified Thompson had previously told her
"[y]ou don't have no business talking. There's
nothing for you to say. Just sit there. That's what you
do as a woman." (Tr. Vol. II at 38.)
7} J.S. stayed with Thompson for a few more days and
then formulated a plan to escape. She told Thompson she was
going to donate plasma, which she had done previously, and
then she left the house. She testified she did not take her
purse with her or any belongings; she just left the house.
J.S. said that after donating plasma, she called her son to
pick her up, and she stayed with her son for a couple of
days. However, J.S. testified she did not immediately file a
police report because she was afraid that Thompson might see
her somewhere before police were able to apprehend him.
8} After staying with her son for several days, J.S.
said she then went to a homeless shelter. On November 27,
2016, J.S. was experiencing pain in her ribs and it was hard
for her to breathe so she went to the hospital. An
examination revealed internal bruising on her ribs and
indentations on her sides from Thompson's shoes. J.S.
testified that hospital personnel called the police to make a
report. Two police officers came to the hospital and
interviewed J.S. After the interview, police officers drove
J.S. to the homeless shelter to retrieve her belongings and
then they transported J.S. to a domestic violence shelter.
J.S. testified she stayed at the domestic violence shelter
until February 2017.
9} James Null, an officer with the Columbus Division
of Police, testified that he responded to a call to Mount
Carmel West Hospital on November 27, 2016. At the hospital,
Officer Null took a statement from J.S. regarding the
November 20, 2016 incident and the abuse she suffered while
in a relationship with Thompson. Following the interview,
Officer Null said he administered a series of screening
questions to J.S. to see whether she would benefit from
admission to the Choices program, a shelter for victims of
domestic violence. Officer Null testified he then transported
J.S. to the homeless shelter to collect her belongings and
then to Choices.
10} Thompson did not call any witnesses. Following
deliberations, the jury found Thompson guilty of domestic
violence with the specific finding that Thompson had two or
more prior domestic violence convictions. However, the jury
found Thompson not guilty of abduction. Following a February
21, 2018 sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced
Thompson to three years in prison to run consecutive to
Thompson's sentence in a separate criminal case. The