Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from Berea Municipal Court Case No. 18 CRB
Barbara Jones, City Law Director, and Danielle Fekete
Swisher, Assistant Prosecutor, and Megan M. Matthews,
Assistant Director of Law, for appellee.
and Wargo, and Thomas M. Wilson, for appellant
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR, JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant, Alexander Timm ("Timm"),
appeals his conviction for domestic violence, which was
rendered after a bench trial. For the reasons that follow, we
2} In 2018, Timm was charged with one count of
domestic violence, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a
first-degree misdemeanor. The matter proceeded through the
pretrial process. On the day of trial, Timm filed a motion in
limine to exclude the statements he made to police prior to
receiving Miranda warnings. The trial court heard
argument on the motion prior to trial and subsequently
overruled the motion, finding that Timm was required to file
a motion to suppress his statements, not a motion in limine;
therefore, he waived any objection to his statements.
3} The following evidence was adduced at trial.
4} Timm and the victim attended a birthday party
where they both consumed alcohol and became intoxicated. Upon
returning home from the party, Timm and the victim got into
an argument. The victim's daughter and daughter's
friend were in the house at the time. The police received a
911 call but were disconnected; the dispatcher heard a woman
screaming but did not get her name before the call was
disconnected. The victim's daughter and her friend called
911 a second time and reported that Timm slammed the victim
to the ground and the victim sustained a head injury with
blood. Dispatch noted that the caller stated that the victim
needed medical attention and the caller was starting to
hyperventilate or was having difficulty breathing.
The police arrived on scene. Patrolman Adam Laeng
("Patrolman Laeng") testified that Timm let him
into the house. Patrolman Laeng testified that he had
domestic violence training and had responded to many domestic
violence situations in the past. As part of his standard
procedure, Patrolman Laeng separates the involved parties and
tries to ascertain what happened. On this evening, Patrolman
Laeng spoke with Timm. Timm told the officer that he and the
victim were at a birthday party, returned home, and the
victim started going through Timm's text messages on his
phone. Timm was trying to go to bed and admitted he hit the
victim with a pillow to knock the phone out of her hand.
According to Patrolman Laeng, Timm stated that at that point
the victim "came at him * * * trying to hit him in the
face two times, and his [Timm's] words, he picked her up
and threw her off of him, and she must have hit her head on
6} Patrolman Laeng testified that he detained Timm
and put him in handcuffs, for his and Timm's safety,
because Patrolman Laeng was the only officer on scene.
Important to this appeal, Patrolman Laeng testified that Timm
told him what happened before the officer placed him in
Prosecutor: So, Officer Laeng, you're testifying that you
placed the defendant in handcuffs and told him he was being
detained after he made statements to you explaining what had
Patrolman Laeng: Yes.
Prosecutor: So you placed him in handcuffs after he made the
statement to you * * * that she had gone over, attempted to
hit him, and then he threw her down, and that's when she
cut her head open?
Patrolman Laeng: Affirm, yes, correct.
Prosecutor: He made that statement to you before he was
placed in handcuffs?
Patrolman Laeng: I believe so. Because I know I didn't
walk in immediately placing him in handcuffs, it was after we
had some dialogue as to what happened.
7} Patrolman Laeng noted that the victim was
"bleeding profusely" from the head. The victim was
subsequently transported to the hospital where she received
six staples to close the wound on her head.
8} Patrolman Daniel Kelly ("Patrolman
Kelly") was the next officer to arrive on scene. Timm
objected to his testimony because the city had not provided
Patrolman Kelly's name in discovery. The court overruled
9} Patrolman Kelly testified that Timm was in
handcuffs when he arrived. He dealt primarily with the
victim, assessing her injuries. Patrolman Kelly's
body-cam video was played for the court. There was discussion
amongst the parties and the court as to statements Timm made
that the body cam's sound picked up. Patrolman Kelly,
upon questioning by the court, stated that it sounded like
Timm said, "I slammed her on the ground and her head
10} The victim testified that Timm is her boyfriend
with whom she and her daughter live. On the evening in
question, the victim and Timm attended her brother's
birthday party and they "drank too much," so
someone drove them home. They began to argue, "he hit me
with the pillow, and so I got up and I punched him, and then
he pushed me and I went to fall and then he fell with me * *
* like he pushed me off of him." She further testified
that "I pulled him kind of. Like so when I hit him and
he went to go push me, I grabbed him, so we fell together, I
11} On cross-examination, the prosecutor queried:
Prosecutor: But you fell because he pushed you? And then you
grabbed him and that's ...