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State v. Johnathan Barnes

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Logan

July 1, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
FRANK V. JOHNATHAN BARNES, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR 18 05 0143

          Addison M. Spriggs for Appellant

          Alice Robinson-Bond for Appellee

          OPINION

          SHAW, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Frank Barnes ("Barnes"), brings this appeal from the December 6, 2018, judgment of the Logan County Common Pleas Court sentencing him to an aggregate ninety (90) months in prison after Barnes was convicted in a jury trial of Domestic Violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the fourth degree, Abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(2), a felony of the third degree, Disrupting Public Services in violation of R.C. 2909.04(A)(1), [1]a felony of the fourth degree, Intimidation of an Attorney, Victim, or Witness in a Criminal Case in violation of R.C. 2921.04(B)(1), a felony of the fourth degree, and Menacing by Stalking in violation of R.C. 2903.211(A)(1), a felony of the fourth degree. On appeal, Barnes argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, that the cumulative errors caused by his ineffective counsel deprived him of a fair trial, and that there was insufficient evidence presented to convict him of Domestic Violence.

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} A seven count indictment was filed against Barnes on May 8, 2018, alleging that Barnes had committed (Count 1) Domestic Violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the fourth degree due to Barnes having a prior conviction for domestic violence or a crime substantially similar, (Count 2) Abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(2), a felony of the third degree, (Count 3) Felonious Assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a felony of the second degree, (Count 4) Disrupting Public Services in violation of R.C. 2909.04(A)(1), a felony of the fourth degree, (Count 5) Disrupting Public Services in violation of R.C. 2909.04(A)(3), a felony of the fourth degree, (Count 6) Intimidation of an Attorney, Victim, or Witness in a Criminal Case in violation of R.C. 2921.04(B)(1), a felony of the third degree, and (Count 7) Menacing by Stalking in violation of R.C. 2903.211(A)(1), a felony of the fourth degree.

         {¶3} Five of the seven charges (Counts 1-5) stemmed from an incident that occurred on April 7, 2018. At that time, it was alleged that Barnes lived with his girlfriend in this matter, Ashley D. ("Ashley"). Ashley's two children also lived in the residence. Due to issues Ashley had with Barnes's drinking in the past, when she returned home shortly before midnight on April 6, 2018, and noticed Barnes had been drinking liquor, she poured the last quarter of the bottle that he had been drinking down the sink drain. Barnes then strangled Ashley in the kitchen to the point that she passed out.[2]

         {¶4} Ashley recalled regaining consciousness on the floor of the kitchen shortly thereafter. She then went into her bedroom to get her phone to call the police, but Barnes followed her and took her phone from her so that she could not call for emergency assistance. Barnes also prevented her from leaving the bedroom by following her around and blocking the door. Ashley eventually exited the bedroom and Barnes attempted to prevent her from leaving the house by following her and blocking the front door, but Ashley ran out the back door and went to a neighbor's house. There she had the neighbor call 911. Police and paramedics responded to the scene. An officer noted red marks on Ashley's neck consistent with her story. Barnes fled the area before police arrived.

         {¶5} The Intimidation charge (Count 6) stemmed from a phone call Barnes made to Ashley on April 23, 2018, when he had still not been located by law enforcement. During the call Barnes threatened to harm or have someone else harm her if she proceeded with the case.

         {¶6} The Menacing by Stalking charge (Count 7) stemmed from a series of incidents of Barnes inflicting violence against Ashley or threatening violence against her over a period of time. The series of incidents included one prior conviction of Barnes against Ashley.

         {¶7} Barnes pled not guilty to all of the charges against him.

         {¶8} On October 23-24, 2018, Barnes proceeded to a jury trial. The State presented the testimony of five witnesses including the victim, Ashley. The defense presented the testimony of five witnesses and then rested its case. The jury returned guilty verdicts on six of the seven counts against Barnes, acquitting him of (Count 3) Felonious Assault.

         {¶9} On December 3, 2018, the matter proceeded to sentencing. Barnes was ordered to serve eighteen months in prison on Count 1, Domestic Violence, thirty-six months in prison on Count 2, Abduction, consecutive to each other The trial court found that Counts 4 and 5 of Disrupting Public Services merged for sentencing and the State chose to proceed to sentence on Count 4 Barnes was ordered to serve 12 months in prison on Count 4, concurrent with Count 2 As to Count 6 and the Intimidation charge, Barnes was ordered to serve thirty-six months in prison, consecutive to the prison terms in Counts 1 and 2 Finally, Barnes was ordered to serve twelve months in prison on Count 7, Menacing by Stalking, concurrently with the other counts. Barnes thus received an aggregate ninety month prison term for the crimes in this case; however, they were ordered to be served consecutive to a separate prison term Barnes had received in another matter from Logan County.

         {¶10} A judgment entry memorializing Barnes's sentence was filed December 6, 2018. It is from this judgment that Barnes appeals, asserting the following assignments of error for our review.

         Assignment of Error No. 1

         Mr. Barnes was deprived of his right to the effective assistance of trial counsel when trial counsel was late to trial twice, failed to timely call witnesses, placed a witness on the stand who was unable to testify, and failed to object throughout the trial.

         Assignment of Error No. 2

         Frank Barnes's right to a fair trial and due process of law were violated by the cumulative errors that occurred during his trial.

         Assignment of Error No. 3

         Mr. Barnes's conviction for domestic violence under R.C. 2919.25 is not supported by sufficient evidence[.]

         {¶11} Due to the nature of the discussion we elect to address the assignments of error out of the order in which they were raised.

         Third Assignment of Error

         {¶12} In Barnes's third assignment of error he argues that there was insufficient evidence presented to support his conviction for Domestic Violence.[3]Specifically, he argues that there ...


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