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State v. Hill

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 3, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
McKALE HILL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case Nos. CR-17-613232-A, CR-17-620544-A

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Blaise D. Thomas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Mark A Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and John T. Martin and Paul Kuzmins, Assistant Public Defenders, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY EILEEN KILBANE, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, McKale Hill ("Hill"), appeals the trial court's decision ordering restitution and imposing a fine. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} Hill was charged in three separate cases. In the first, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-17-613232, Hill was charged in February 2017 with aggravated robbery, with one- and three-year firearm specifications attached, and also charged with having weapons while under disability ("HWWUD"). In the second, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-17-613191-A, Hill was charged in March 2017 with one count of drug possession. In the third, Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-17-620544, Hill was charged in August 2017 with aggravated murder, murder, and felonious assault, with one- and three-year firearm specifications attached to each charge. Hill was also charged with HWWUD.

         {¶ 3} In May 2018, Hill reached a plea agreement with the state regarding all three cases. In Case No. CR-17-613232, Hill agreed to plead guilty to aggravated robbery with the deletion of the firearm specifications. Under the agreement, the HWWUD charge would be dismissed. In Case No. CR-17-613191, Hill agreed to plead guilty as indicted. In Case No. CR-17-620544, Hill agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of involuntary manslaughter with one- and three-year firearm specifications attached. Hill also agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of felonious assault, with the deletion of the firearm specifications, and plead guilty to HWWUD. Under the agreement, the murder charge would be dismissed.

         {¶4} Further, under the agreement, the charges for involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault would merge. Finally, the state and Hill jointly agreed to a recommended sentence of 18-20 years in prison. The prosecuting attorney placed on the record that under RC. 2953.08(D)(1), if the trial court imposed a sentence duly authorized by law, and it was jointly recommended, it was not subject to review.

         {¶5} Thereafter, the trial court reviewed the charges, the potential penalties, and the plea agreement with Hill. The trial court explained that he would impose the recommended sentence of 18, 19, or 20 years and that Hill would be subject to a mandatory five-year period of postrelease control. Hill then proceeded to plead guilty as outlined in the agreement.

         {¶ 6} In June 2018, Hill appeared for sentencing. The trial court indicated that the victim of the aggravated robbery in Case No. CR-17-613232 had requested restitution in the amount of $7, 714. Defense counsel objected to the requested amount. The trial court proceeded to review the itemized list provided by the probation department, which included a jacket valued at $220, a jogging suit valued at $125, a pair of boots valued at $190, a Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship ring valued at $4, 999, lost contacts valued at $180, bandages valued at $45, and $1, 800 in damage to the victim's vehicle.

         {¶ 7} Defense counsel agreed with the values pertaining to the jacket, the jogging suit, and the pair of boots, but disagreed with the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship ring. Defense counsel indicated that he had been provided no information regarding the damage to the victim's vehicle, the lost contacts and the bandages.

         {¶ 8} The state presented the testimony of Benita Ramsey ("Ramsey"), the great aunt of the victim in Case No. CR-17-620544. Ramsey testified that she had incurred approximately $14, 000 in funeral expenses and that she could furnish the receipts. Ramsey testified that the cost incurred posed a hardship and she would accept whatever amount the trial court thought was fair.

         {¶ 9} Defense counsel renewed its objection and opined that Hill would not be in a position to pay the restitution after serving 18 to 20 years in prison. Despite his objection, defense counsel asked the trial court to proceed with sentencing. The trial court, however, continued the hearing to give the parties time to furnish additional documentary evidence of economic loss.

         {¶ 10} Approximately one week later, the trial court reconvened the hearing and revisited the issue of restitution. The state presented additional documentation to support the request for restitution in Case Nos. CR-17-613232 and CR-17-620544. Defense counsel presented a listing of Cavaliers Championship replica rings for sale on eBay that ranged in price from $9 to $70.

         {¶ 11} Thereafter, in Case No. CR-17-613232, the trial court sentenced Hill to six years in prison, fined him $10, 000, and ordered restitution in the amount of $1, 915. In Case No. CR-17-613191, the trial court sentenced Hill to one year, which would be served concurrently to the sentence in Case No. CR-17-613232. In Case No. CR-17-620544, the trial court sentenced Hill to 11 years, plus 3 years for the firearm specification for the charge of involuntary manslaughter, for a total of 14 years. The trial court sentence Hill to three years for HWWUD to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed for involuntary manslaughter. The trial court ordered restitution in the amount of $12, 759. The sentences imposed in CR- 17-613232 and CR-17-620544 were to be served consecutively for an aggregate prison sentence of 20 years.

         {¶ 12} Hill now appeals, assigning the following ...


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