Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-18-627542-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Justin Washburne, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
A Rein, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE
1} Appellant Harold Smith appeals his convictions on
multiple counts. Upon review, we affirm.
2} Appellant was indicted under a multicount
indictment with charges stemming from an incident that
occurred on February 14, 2018, outside an apartment building
at 8302 Lake Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. The state dismissed two
counts, and the matter proceeded with a jury trial on four
counts, including attempted murder, two counts of felonious
assault, and domestic violence. All counts, except for the
domestic violence, included a notice of prior conviction
specification and a repeat violent offender specification
that were bifurcated and determined by the judge.
3} An eyewitness, who lived in the apartment
building, testified that he heard an alarming yell and went
to observe the street from his third-floor window. He saw a
woman crossing the street collapse to the pavement and heard
a male yelling at her to "come back" and "get
the f*** up." The witness testified that the woman told
the male that she could not walk and then went unconscious.
The witness then observed the male drag the woman across the
street between two parked cars where the woman dropped
"like a potato sack." The witness also observed
that the woman's car door was open and that there was a
dog in the passenger side that ran into the apartment
building. A recording of a 911 call made by the witness was
played for the jury. The witness testified that the suspect
fled, and he provided a description of the suspect's
vehicle. The witness observed others come to the street to
try to help the victim. The witness was able to provide a
description of the suspect, whom he had previously seen
coming and going from the apartment building. He also had
previously observed the victim in the apartment building.
Although the witness was never shown photographs of possible
suspects, at trial, the witness identified defendant as the
assailant with "110 percent" certainty. Tr. 223:18.
4} Another eyewitness testified to what she
witnessed from the other side of the street. She testified
that she heard a "blood-curdling scream" and saw
the victim sitting on the yellow lines in the center of the
street with a little dog running around her. She called 911
and provided a description of the clothing the victim and the
suspect were wearing. She observed a white woman sitting in
the street and an African-American male, who had a scruffy
face, drag the woman across the street in front of a parked
car. She saw the male go into the apartment building and come
back out. She testified that he got into his car and fled.
She provided a description of his vehicle. Although she was
able to provide a description of the suspect, she testified
that she was not confident she could identify him. Her 911
call was played to the jury.
5} Video surveillance from the front entry of the
apartment building depicted a scene consistent with the
eyewitness testimony. The video also depicted appellant enter
and exit the apartment building.
6} A responding officer found the victim lying on
the street and her dog running loose. The victim had a knife
in her shoulder and was taken to the hospital and had
surgery. The officer found the door to the victim and
appellant's apartment was open.
7} Testimony and evidence were presented as to the
victim's injuries, which included two penetrating wounds.
Photographic evidence was also introduced. The knife was
recovered and identified at trial; however, it was not
submitted for DNA testing.
8} A detective who investigated the case testified
that she spoke with the victim and took her statement. The
victim completed paperwork for a protection order. The
detective also spoke to the eyewitnesses who testified at
trial and obtained written statements. As a result of the
investigation, appellant was deemed a suspect. Appellant was
apprehended in Illinois and indicted on the charges.
9} The victim did not testify at trial. Appellant
stipulated to his prior felony convictions.
10} The landlord of the apartment building testified
that appellant and the victim were on the lease to an
apartment unit in the apartment building. The landlord filed
a notice of eviction after the rent payment was not made for