from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee JOHN D. FERRERO PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
KATHLEEN O. TATARSKY Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Appellate
Defendant-Appellant GEORGE URBAN
JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J Hon. William B. Hoffman, J.
Hon. Craig R. Baldwin J.
Defendant-appellant Jonathan C. McGowan appeals his
convictions and sentence entered by the Stark County Court of
Common Pleas, on three counts of attempt to commit murder
with repeat violent offender and firearm specifications;
three counts of felonious assault with repeat violent
offender and firearm specifications; two counts of domestic
violence; one count of having weapons while under disability;
one count of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited
premises; one count of improperly handling firearms in a
motor vehicle; and one count of child endangering, following
a jury trial. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.
OF THE CASE AND FACTS
On February 20, 2018, the Stark County Grand Jury secretly
indicted Appellant on three counts of attempt to commit
murder, in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A), with repeat violent
offender and firearm specifications; three counts of
felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), with
repeat violent offender and firearm specifications; two
counts of domestic violence, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A);
one count of having weapons while under disability, in
violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(2); one count of discharge of a
firearm on or near prohibited premises, in violation of R.C.
2923.162(A)(3)(C)(1); one count of improperly handling
firearms in a motor vehicle, in violation of R.C. 2923.16(A);
one count of child endangering, in violation of R.C.
2919.22(A); and one count of menacing by stalking, in
violation of R.C. 2903.211 (A)(1 (B)(2)(b).
Appellant appeared before the trial court on March 2, 2018,
and entered a plea of not guilty to the Indictment. Appellant
filed a motion to suppress on March 20, 2018, arguing the
trooper failed to advise him of his Miranda rights
when he was detained in Summit County Jail on an unrelated
charge; therefore, any statements Appellant made to the
trooper should be suppressed. The trial court conducted a
hearing on Appellant's motion on April 25, 2018. Trooper
Daley with the Ohio State Highway Patrol testified at the
hearing and submitted the audiotape of the interview he
conducted with Appellant at the Summit County Jail. Following
the hearing, the trial court denied the motion to suppress
and the matter proceeded to jury trial on April 30, 2018. The
repeat violent offender specifications were tried to the
Thaddaeus Rosser, Lakisha McGowan's brother, testified,
Lakisha and Appellant were married on February 23, 2010.
Lakisha and Appellant had a son, Jonathan McGowan, Jr.,
together prior to their marriage. Rosser indicated, in
January, 2018, Lakisha and Appellant were separated and were
living apart. Lakisha was living on Evans Street in Akron,
Ohio. Rosser planned to drive Lakisha and Jonathan, Jr. to
South Carolina on Sunday, January 14, 2018, "[t]o get
her to a safer place." Trial Tr., Vol. II at 163. His
sister had rented a U-Haul with a trailer in order to
transport her SUV. They intended to depart Akron at 5 a.m. on
January 14th, but overslept.
Rosser, who was driving the U-Haul, proceeded south on
Interstate 77. Jonathan, Jr. sat between Rosser and Lakisha
on the cabin bench seat. As they approached the Hall of Fame
Bridge, Rosser heard at least four loud "booms".
The driver's side window shattered after the first or
first couple of booms, and subsequently the window completely
broke. Rosser was unable to determine what other vehicles
were on the highway at the time. Pieces of glass and mirror
struck Rosser in the face and hand. Rosser heard Jonathan,
Jr. screaming. Rosser maneuvered the U-Haul off the highway
and pulled into a gas station.
Rosser examined the U-Haul to determine what had occurred. He
observed holes in the rear view mirror and the driver's
side door. While Rosser was examining the vehicle, Lakisha
called the police. Rosser did not receive medical attention.
Paramedics tended to Jonathan, Jr., and he was subsequently
transported to the hospital.
On cross-examination, Rosser testified he advised Trooper
Daley he had seen a red and silver pick-up truck travel past
the U-Haul following the incident. Rosser acknowledged he did
not see the individual who shot at them.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Justin Daley was assigned
to investigate the January 14, 2018 shooting incident on
Interstate 77 South, near mile post 110. When he arrived at
the Canton Post, he spoke with the responding officers.
Trooper Daley briefly spoke with Rosser, Lakisha, and
Jonathan, Jr., then examined the U-Haul. The trooper observed
bullet holes in the driver's door area, the left rear
view mirror, and inside the passenger compartment. After his
initial view of the U-Haul, Trooper Daley interviewed Rosser
and Lakisha. He returned to the vehicle, photographed it from
all sides and began to process it. Trooper Daley determined
four separate rounds hit the U-Haul and the transported
vehicle. Specifically, one shot through the side mirror, one
shot through the driver's side door, one shot through the
driver's headrest, and one shot through the passenger
compartment. A .380 caliber bullet was recovered from the
cargo area, which was taken into evidence for testing.
Trooper Daley learned Appellant had been arrested on
unrelated charges and was being held in the Summit County
Jail. The trooper interviewed Appellant there on January 17,
2018. Prior to commencing the interview, Trooper Daley
informed Appellant he was not under arrest for the U-Haul
shooting and was free to leave the interview at any time.
Trooper Daley did not advise Appellant of his
Miranda rights. Although an audiotape of the
interview was played at the suppression hearing, the state
did not play the audiotape at trial. Trooper Daley did not
testify as to the substance of the interview, but merely
stated he met with Appellant on January 17, 2018.
As part of his investigation, Trooper Daley obtained and
listened to recordings of phone calls to and from Appellant
while he was in the Summit County Jail. Calls between
Appellant and Adam McGowan ("McGowan"), his
brother, as well as calls between Appellant and Angela
Briere, his girlfriend at the time, were played for the jury.
During his calls with Briere, Appellant made numerous
references to sandwiches, such as the one he had eaten that
morning, the fact he was hot because he had eaten too many
sandwiches, and also whether Briere had disposed of the
"moldy sandwich". Trooper Daley explained the term
"sandwich" is slang for firearm. The trooper also
learned Briere, at Appellant's request, had given the gun
Appellant used during the U-Haul shooting to McGowan. With
this information, Trooper Daley obtained a warrant to search
On January 29, 2018, law enforcement officers, including
Trooper Daley, executed the search warrant at McGowan's
apartment in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Officers discovered a
silver gray, hinged lid lockbox, containing a black Taurus
.380 caliber handgun, a silver Phoenix Arms pistol, .380
caliber ammunition, and .22 caliber long rifle bullets.
Trooper Daley personally delivered the Taurus handgun to the
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation ("BCI").
Adam McGowan testified Briere had delivered the lockbox
containing the guns and ammunition to his apartment sometime
in January, 2018. At the time, McGowan was unaware of the
contents of the box. McGowan subsequently learned of the
contents and informed Appellant he had thrown the black gun
into the gorge. McGowan acknowledged he did not actually
dispose of the gun, explaining after he learned what
Appellant had done, he wanted "nothing to do with this
mess." Tr. II at 318.
Angela Briere testified, in January, 2018, she and Appellant
were in a relationship, which began in mid-November, 2017.
Briere was aware Appellant and his wife, Lakisha, were
married, but separated, at the time. On January 13, 2018,
Briere and Appellant were hanging out with one of
Lakisha's brothers, Antonio Rosser, and his girlfriend,
who is also the mother of his children. At the end of the
evening, Briere, Appellant, and Rosser drove Rosser's
girlfriend to Lakisha's daughter's house. A U-Haul
truck with a trailer attached was parked in front of the