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State v. Price

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

August 9, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
LACHASHIA C. PRICE Defendant-Appellant

          Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No. 2017-CRB-7519

          TROY B. DANIELS, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          MARIA L. RABOLD, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.


          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Lachashia Price appeals from her conviction for domestic violence and criminal damaging. Specifically, she contends that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction for domestic violence and that that conviction was also against the weight of the evidence. We conclude that the State presented sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction, as there was evidence from which a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the offense proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We further conclude that Price's conviction was not against the manifest weight of the evidence. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} This case stems from an altercation that occurred between Price and her half-sister Tieya Price on November 16, 2017.[1] Following an investigation, Price was charged with domestic violence, assault and criminal damaging. A bench trial was conducted on June 7, 2018.

         {¶ 3} During the trial, Tieya testified that, on the date of the altercation, Price and Price's boyfriend, Jermain Talie, drove to Tieya's home in order to shower. While there, Price asked Tieya for five dollars in order to purchase gasoline for her vehicle which she had parked at Tieya's residence. Tieya informed Price that she did not have money to give her. Thereafter, Tieya drove both Price and Talie to their places of employment. Price's vehicle remained at Tieya's residence. Tieya testified that she and her teenaged daughter, Lamya Demmons, picked up Price from her workplace at approximately 7:30 p.m. that same day and then drove around for several hours. Tieya testified that, when they returned to Tieya's residence, Price was upset because Tieya had not loaned her the five dollars she had requested earlier. According to Tieya, Price detached Tieya's rearview mirror from the vehicle and hit Tieya in the face with it. Tieya testified that Price then punched her in the face. Afterward, Price proceeded to kick Tieya's vehicle. Tieya testified that Price and Talie then left the scene and that Tieya then called 911. Tieya testified that, after the incident, she consumed some alcohol.

         {¶ 4} Demmons also testified that Price hit Tieya in the face with both the rearview mirror and with her fist. She further testified that Price kicked Tieya's vehicle. Demmons denied that her mother had been drinking. Demmons left the scene before the police arrived.

         {¶ 5} Dayton Police Officer Terrell Moore testified that he was dispatched to the scene where he met Tieya. Moore testified that Tieya appeared to have been assaulted and that she had blood on her face. He testified that Tieya appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He also testified that Price was not at the scene.

         {¶ 6} Dayton Police Officer Karina Sulek testified that she was also dispatched to the scene. She testified that Tieya, who was the only party on the scene, appeared to have used alcohol. Sulek noted injuries and blood on Tieya's face. Sulek took pictures of Tieya and her vehicle. The vehicle had a crack to the front bumper and a dent in the rear.

         {¶ 7} Price testified that when Tieya picked her up from work, Tieya had been drinking alcohol. Price testified that as the night progressed, Tieya became intoxicated and appeared angry. At some point, Talie joined the group, which eventually returned to Tieya's residence and retrieved a gas can. Price testified that Tieya and Demmons began to argue in the house; Price and Talie broke up the fight, and the four then returned to Tieya's car to go get gas for Price's car. Price testified that she and Talie were in the back seats of the vehicle.

         {¶ 8} According to Price, as the car pulled out of the parking lot, Tieya and Demmons began to argue again, and Tieya stopped the vehicle and attempted to hit Demmons with the rearview mirror. Demmons exited the vehicle. Tieya put the car in park, exited, approached Demmons, and the two began to fight. Price testified that Talie intervened. Price testified that she and Talie then told Demmons that she could stay with them for the night and that they would get gasoline on their own. According to Price, Tieya became angry with her for intervening, and Tieya spit on and bit Talie. Price further testified that, as she was attempting to get Demmons into Price's car, Tieya began to kick the vehicle. Price testified that she then kicked the back of Tieya's car. Price testified that she was standing by her own car when Tieya pulled her hair, hit her, and jumped into Price's car to attempt to "mess up" the car by shifting the gears. According to Price, while Tieya was pulling her hair, Price hit Tieya in self-defense. When the altercation ended, Price and Talie left the scene in Price's car. Talie's testimony was similar to Price's. Both Price and Talie testified that they called the police after the incident, but they admitted that they never spoke to an officer. On rebuttal, Demmons denied getting into an argument with her mother. During her testimony, Tieya also denied fighting with her daughter.

         {¶ 9} The trial court found Price guilty on all charges. During sentencing, the trial court merged the assault and domestic violence charges and proceeded to sentence Price for domestic violence and criminal damaging. The court sentenced Price to a jail term of 180 days, all of which was suspended. The court also imposed five years community control, restitution, a $50 fine and court costs; for the first year, Price ...

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