Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
Case No. 2017 CR 000191
Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Nicholas
Horton, for appellee
A. Newburger, for appellant
1} Appellant, Jason Todd Evick, appeals his
convictions in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas for
domestic violence and abduction. For the reasons stated
below, this court affirms his convictions.
2} In early January 2017, a woman (the
"victim") used the social media website Facebook to
request a ride home from work from her network of online
"friends." Appellant responded to the request and
offered to drive her home. The victim accepted. As a result
of this meeting, appellant and the victim became romantically
involved. Their relationship continued for the next two and a
half months. Initially, the two lived at the victim's
step- father's house. However, they eventually had to
leave her step-father's residence and find other
accommodations. While staying with friends or at hotel rooms,
appellant and the victim continued to live together. The two
eventually "settled" at a small campground style
trailer park in Clinton County, Ohio.
3} According to the victim, throughout their
relationship, appellant would physically and mentally abuse
her by kicking and punching her, threatening her, and
otherwise exerting control over her. At one point, appellant
told her that he could get away with murder because he could
easily dispose of a body in a pond located on his
friend's land. Additionally, appellant told the victim he
was familiar with the smell of burning skin.
4} In mid-March 2017, the victim asked appellant to
take her to the hospital. Appellant ostensibly agreed and
drove the victim into Clermont County. While on their
journey, appellant decided to make two unrelated stops, one
at his mother's house and the other at his mother's
boyfriend's workplace. After the last stop, the two
proceeded again to drive around Clermont County. When
appellant exited the interstate highway in Miami Township the
victim suspected that appellant was not taking her to the
hospital, but was instead heading to his friend's
property with the pond. At that point, the victim asked
appellant where they were going and why they exited from the
highway. Instead of answering, appellant punched the victim
in the head.
5} As the car came to a stop at a traffic signal,
the victim, fearing for her safety, fled from appellant's
vehicle and ran into a nearby IHOP restaurant. Upon entering
the restaurant, she attempted to hide behind one of the
hostesses. Another IHOP employee then brought the victim to
the back of the restaurant and provided her with a cellular
telephone to call 911 - which she did. During this time,
appellant came into the restaurant to look for the victim,
but quickly left. Law enforcement and emergency medical
services subsequently arrived on scene.
6} In addition to the victim's testimony, two of
the IHOP employees testified about their interactions with
the victim. They both testified the victim appeared afraid
and that her face was red and swollen. Moreover, the
responding police officer and emergency medical technicians
also testified about the victim's physical injuries, as
well as her anxious and fearful demeanor. Finally, the
prosecutor presented, and had admitted into evidence,
IHOP's surveillance video showing the victim enter the
restaurant, the victim's 911 call, and photographs of the
7} Appellant was indicted for domestic violence and
abduction, both charged as third-degree felonies. A jury
found appellant guilty of both offenses and the trial court
sentenced appellant to prison.
8} Appellant now appeals his conviction, raising
four assignments of error.
9} Assignment of Error No. 1:
10} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY ADMITTING OTHER BAD
ACTS EVIDENCE AND IMPROPERLY INSTRUCTING JURY ABOUT SAID
11} In his first assignment of error, appellant
contends the trial court abused its discretion by allowing
the victim to testify to several past instances of physical
and sexual abuse because the testimony was not admissible
under Evid.R. 404(B) and was unfairly prejudicial. Further,
appellant argues the trial court erred because the jury
instructions on this evidence differed from the court's
12} A trial court has broad discretion to admit or
exclude evidence. State v. Hines, 12th Dist.
Clermont CA2017-06-025, 2018-Ohio-1780, ¶ 52. As such, a
reviewing court will not disturb that decision absent an
abuse of discretion that creates material prejudice.
State v. Diar, 120 Ohio St.3d 460, 2008-Ohio-6266,
¶ 66; accord State v. Martin, 12th Dist. Butler
No. CA2007-01-022, 2007-Ohio-7073, ¶ 9. An abuse of
discretion is more than an error of judgment or law, it
signifies that the trial court's decision was
unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable. State v.
Bennett, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2017-09-138,
2018-Ohio-3623, ¶ 27.
13} Evidence of an accused's other acts, wrongs,
or crimes is not admissible when the sole purpose of that
evidence is to prove the accused has a propensity to commit
crime or has acted in conformity with his or her bad
character. State v. Hignite, 12th Dist. Warren No.
CA2015-07-063, 2015-Ohio-5204, ¶ 17; accord State v.
Kirkland, 140 Ohio St.3d 73, 2014-Ohio-1966, ¶ 68.
However, pursuant to Evid.R. 404(B) and R.C. 2945.59,
evidence of those "other acts" is admissible if
there is substantial proof the acts were committed by the
accused and "the evidence tends to prove motive,
opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity,
or absence of mistake or accident." State v.
Lowe, 69 Ohio St.3d 527, 530 (1994). Moreover, Evid.R.
404(B) does not limit the "other purposes" to those
outlined in the rule. State v. Williams, 134 Ohio
St.3d 521, 2012-Ohio-5695, ¶ 17.
14} In Williams, the Ohio Supreme Court
created a three-part test a trial court must conduct when
determining whether the evidence of other acts is admissible.
State v. Tench, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-5205,
¶ 139, citing Williams at ¶ 20. First, the
court must decide whether the other acts evidence is
relevant, that is, "whether the evidence tends to make
the existence of any fact of consequence to the determination
of the action more or less probable than it would be without
the evidence." Id. Second, the court must
decide if the evidence is used for a "legitimate other
purpose" or merely to show the character of the person
and conduct in conformity to that character. Id.