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State v. Thompson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 25, 2019

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Lee C. Thompson, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas No. 17CR-3403

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Michael P. Walton, for appellee.

         Argued:

          Michael P. Walton.

         On brief:

          Yeura R. Venters, Public Defender, and George M. Schumann, for appellant.

         Argued:

          George M. Schumann.

          DECISION

          LUPER SCHUSTER, J.

         {¶ 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 affirm.

         I. 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 one-half months.

         {¶ 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 31.)

         {¶ 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 ...


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