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State v. Crawford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

June 28, 2019

State of Ohio Appellee
Marcus Crawford Appellant

          Trial Court No. CR0201602264

          Julia R. Bates, Lucas County Prosecuting Attorney, and Alyssa Breyman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Karin L. Coble, for appellant.


          MAYLE, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Following a jury trial, appellant, Marcus Crawford, appeals the August 4, 2017 judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas sentencing him to a mandatory prison term of 10 years to life. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. Background and Facts

         {¶ 2} On July 11, 2016, Crawford was indicted on one count of rape of a person less than 13 years of age in violation of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b), [1] a first-degree felony. Beginning on May 8, 2017, the trial court held a jury trial, at which the following facts were adduced.

         {¶ 3} On June 10, 2016, S.B., who was 11 years old, and some of her siblings were visiting their mother's house in Toledo. Their mother, stepfather, grandmother, stepgrandfather, a man called "Slurp," and Crawford were also at the house. S.B. said that she knew Crawford before June 10 and thought he was "trustworthy" and "protective of her.

         {¶ 4} Late that morning, S.B. walked to a nearby library branch by herself so that she could use a computer. She originally told the police that she walked to the library with three of her brothers, which she admitted on cross-examination was a lie that she told so that she would not get in trouble. She said that she was not allowed to walk to the library by herself and that her aunt (who was her legal guardian) would have been upset with her if she had known. She also admitted that she "always lie[s]" to avoid getting in trouble.

         {¶ 5} S.B.'s brother, D.M., testified that Crawford left the house after S.B., claiming that "he was going to work or something." After leaving the house, Crawford went to the library.

         {¶ 6} S.B. said that Crawford came to the library while she was there and sat next to her. She testified that Crawford "kept following" her around the library. The state entered into evidence surveillance video from the library's security system. The video showed Crawford entering the library, walking past the computer where S.B. was sitting, and going to another area of the library. Shortly after, he returned to the main area and sat at a computer that was not near S.B., but immediately stood up and moved to the computer next to hers. For approximately 30 minutes, Crawford and S.B. used the adjacent computers, and the video appears to show them frequently speaking and looking at each other's screens. When Crawford stood to leave, S.B. also got up. Although S.B. and Crawford left the library at the same time, she said that they "went our separate ways."

         {¶ 7} While S.B. was walking, Crawford came up behind her, "snatched" and choked her, and took her down an alley near the library to a garage filled with garbage. In the garage, Crawford took off his jacket, laid it on the ground, and told S.B. to lie down. When she refused, she said that "he holded [sic] my hands, and he just kept squeezing my neck. And he was like, 'You can die right now.'" S.B. said that Crawford "tricked" her by asking her to get something and then pulling down and removing her pants and underwear. He then "put his private part in my private part." She clarified that Crawford stuck his "peanuts" into her vagina and said that it caused her to bleed and "hurted [sic] real bad." At some point during the rape, S.B. bit Crawford on his arm, but Crawford did not stop. When Crawford finished, he asked S.B. "'How do you feel to be a woman now?'" He also threatened to kill S.B.'s family if she told any of them what had happened.

         {¶ 8} Following the rape, S.B. said that Crawford took her to the store and bought her chips and candy. She then returned to her mother's house, where she washed the blood out of her underwear because it was "nasty" and she did not know what else to do. She also reported the rape to her mother. She recalls telling her mother to "shut up because I didn't want Marcus to hear." D.M. testified that he heard his stepgrandfather yelling at Crawford who responded by saying "he didn't do that * * *." S.B.'s mother called her aunt, who took S.B. to the hospital for a sexual assault examination.

         {¶ 9} At the hospital, S.B. was examined by Amber Showman, a sexual assault nurse examiner ("SANE"). Showman said that S.B. was laughing and smiling when Showman introduced herself, but became tearful when describing the rape. During the exam, S.B. had a "flat affect with an occasional smile * * *." According to Showman's notes in S.B.'s medical records, S.B. identified Crawford as her assailant. S.B. reported that she was leaving the library when Crawford came up behind her, choked her with his arm, took her into a garage, and told her to take off her pants. She refused, so Crawford choked her again. He then pulled down her pants, laid her down, pulled up her legs, and "put his privates in" her. Afterward, Crawford told S.B. not to tell anyone or he would hurt her mom and family. S.B. said that she ran home and told her mother. Her aunt came to her mother's house and told S.B. that she was going to the hospital. S.B. told Showman that she was scared.

         {¶ 10} Showman's physical examination of S.B. showed that S.B. did not have any marks on her neck, which Showman said is typical. Although Showman did not see any visible injuries in S.B.'s vaginal area, S.B. was extremely tender to touch and was "almost crying in pain" because she was so sore, which prevented Showman from doing a thorough examination for injuries. As part of the exam, Showman took swabs of S.B.'s neck, vaginal area, and perianal area, and collected S.B.'s clothing, which she included in the rape kit that was turned over to the police.

         {¶ 11} On July 14, 2016, S.B. was examined by Dr. Randall Schlievert, who testified as an expert in the treatment and diagnosis of sexual abuse. The examination consisted of an interview by a social worker and a physical examination by Schlievert. The version of events that S.B. gave during the interview was mostly consistent with the version that she told the SANE and testified to at trial. Schlievert testified that he saw a "hymenal transection" during the physical examination, which he claimed was only possible if there had been "penetrating trauma." Based on S.B.'s description of events and the tear in her hymen, Schlievert concluded that S.B. had been sexually assaulted.

         {¶ 12} Detective Rebecca Kincaid of the Toledo Police Department was the detective assigned to investigate this case. As part of her investigation, Kincaid interviewed S.B., obtained the surveillance video from the library, interviewed Crawford, and collected a DNA sample from Crawford.

         {¶ 13} Kincaid came to the hospital while S.B. was being treated. When the sexual assault examination was finished, Kincaid drove S.B. and her aunt to the library to have S.B. show her the garage where the rape occurred. Kincaid also interviewed S.B. Based on Kincaid's testimony, the version of events that S.B. reported to Kincaid was generally consistent with S.B.'s trial testimony, although Kincaid admitted on cross that S.B. said Crawford brought chips and soda back to her mother's house, not that Crawford took her to the store after the rape.

         {¶ 14} During the interview with Crawford (a portion of which was played for the jury), Kincaid said that Crawford initially denied having sex with S.B., but changed his story after Kincaid collected his DNA. In Crawford's second version of events, he admitted that he "fucked up," but placed the blame for the incident on S.B. Crawford claimed that S.B. followed him down the alley, "tried to come on to" him, and he "let her a little bit." He admitted that his penis had been in S.B.'s vagina, but said that "I didn't fuck [a] sixth grader." Instead, he said that S.B. pulled down her pants and climbed on top of him, and he let her "put it in and then [he] pulled it out." He claimed, however, that he did not "put it in her."

         {¶ 15} Kincaid sent Crawford's DNA sample and S.B.'s rape kit to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation ("BCI") for testing. A forensic scientist with BCI testified that she identified semen on the vaginal and perianal swabs from S.B.'s rape kit and that both samples tested presumptively positive for blood. Hallie Dreyer, a forensic scientist in BCI's DNA unit, analyzed the sample from the vaginal swab and compared the results to the DNA sample obtained from Crawford. She found that the swab contained a mixture of S.B.'s DNA and DNA that was consistent with Crawford's DNA. Dreyer estimated that the statistical likelihood of finding the DNA profile that she identified from the vaginal sample (and that was consistent with Crawford's DNA) in the general population was one in 1 trillion unrelated individuals (i.e., rarer than the entire population of the earth).

         {¶ 16} On cross-examination, Dreyer admitted that she did not test the swab taken from S.B.'s neck. Because it is not feasible for BCI to test every sample from every case, Dreyer said, in rape cases, they start by testing samples that were collected internally or from an orifice-"especially an internal orifice collection"-and that had a bodily fluid identified on them. Because Dreyer found DNA in the vaginal sample, she did not test the remaining samples in the rape kit.

         {¶ 17} Based on this evidence, the jury found Crawford guilty.

         {¶ 18} On August 1, 2017, the trial court sentenced Crawford to a mandatory prison term of 10 years to life.

         {¶ 19} Crawford now appeals, raising two ...

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