Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren
CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case
Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kirsten A.
Brandt, for appellee
A. Newburger, for appellant
1} Appellant, Benjamin Cox, appeals the sentencing
decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. For the
reasons detailed below, we affirm in part, reverse in part
and remand this matter to the trial court for the limited
purpose of issuing a nunc pro tunc sentencing entry.
2} During the relevant time period, Cox was married,
but separated from his estranged wife, Angela Cox, and there
was a court order prohibiting Cox from having contact with
3} On September 5, 2017, Cox violated the court
order by sending Angela text messages and by calling her
telephone. Angela responded by informing Cox that she was not
having a good day because her car was having mechanical
problems. Cox then drove to Angela's house, pushed his
way in, and demanded to see his sons, E.C. and D.C. Cox
remained at the house until Angela left to pick up E.C. from
4} As Angela was driving, she began experiencing car
trouble again, so she proceeded to the AutoZone in Franklin,
Ohio and parked in the parking lot. Angela went inside the
store, purchased a new alternator, and was able to
successfully get her car started again. However, before
Angela could leave, Cox managed to track her down and parked
his motorcycle in front of her car to prevent her from
leaving. Because Cox would not let her leave, Angela was
forced to call for a ride home.
5} Upon arriving home, Angela called her boyfriend,
Justin Turner, and asked him to take her to her car.
Approximately one hour later, Turner picked up Angela, along
with 17-month old D.C, and drove them back to AutoZone.
6} When Turner exited his truck, he observed that
Cox was hanging around the nearby Circle K. Cox then quickly
approached Turner on foot and yelled at him to stay away from
Angela's car. As Cox approached, he told Turner that he
was "a dead man" and then pulled out his loaded .38
revolver from the back of his pants and stuck it to
Turner's chest. Turner put his hands in the air and
yelled that Cox had a firearm. From inside Turner's
truck, Angela called 911 and laid the phone on her lap so the
operator could hear the altercation.
7} Cox then put the .38 revolver back in his pants
and exchanged words with Turner. Cox then shoved Turner and
went after Angela. Cox forced the passenger door of the truck
open, told her to get off the phone, grabbed the phone, broke
it in half, and then threw it at Turner. Cox then attempted
to pull Angela from the truck. When Turner tried to stop the
attack, Cox pulled his .38 revolver back out of his pants,
stuck it to Turner's chest a second time, and again
warned him that he was a "dead man." Believing that
Cox was going to shoot him, Turner threw up his arms, stepped
back, and yelled that Cox had a firearm.
8} At this point, a bystander at a nearby restaurant
shouted that she had called the police. Cox then pulled out a
knife and tried to slash Turner's truck tires.
Thereafter, Cox walked back to his motorcycle and parked it
behind Turner's truck. Cox then pulled out a pen and told
Turner that he was writing down the truck's license plate
so that he could track him down and kill him. This entire
altercation occurred while 17-month-old D.C. was seated
nearby in Turner's truck.
9} When Turner heard police sirens, he told Cox that
he was going to jail. Cox then attempted to flee, but police
arrived and wrestled him off the motorcycle before he could
leave the parking lot. The police disarmed Cox and placed him
under arrest. Cox's firearm was loaded with five rounds
and was tucked inside his waistband even though his concealed
carry license was suspended. The firearm was later test fired
and determined to be operable.
10} On October 9, 2017, Cox was indicted on three
felony counts and two misdemeanor counts. The case was tried
to the bench on May 29, 2018. The trial court found Cox
guilty of: carrying a concealed weapon, disrupting public
services with a firearm specification, obstructing official
business with a firearm specification, and aggravated
menacing. The trial court found Cox not guilty of child
endangering. The trial court sentenced Cox to a three-year
prison term, imposing consecutive terms of 12 months for
carrying a concealed weapon, obstruction of official
business, and for the accompanying firearm ...