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State v. Leonard

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
THOMAS J. LEONARD Appellant

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 17CR095761

          APPEARANCES: GIOVANNA V. BREMKE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and BRIAN P. MURPHY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Thomas Leonard appeals his convictions for complicity to commit robbery from the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} According to Mr. Leonard's trial testimony, he and his roommate, Krystalyn, got into an argument one morning because they had no money for food or cigarettes. They both got into Mr. Leonard's car, with Krystalyn driving, and headed to the bank. When they arrived, Mr. Leonard approached a bank employee and inquired about obtaining a $500 loan. The employee informed Mr. Leonard that the bank did not give loans for that small of an amount. Mr. Leonard returned to his car, and Krystalyn drove to another bank and told Mr. Leonard that she was going to ask someone for gas money. Krystalyn then exited the car and left the engine running while Mr. Leonard remained inside, smoking a cigarette and listening to music. Then, suddenly, Krystalyn came running back to the car, got back into the driver's seat, told Mr. Leonard that she tried to rob someone and that it went badly, and sped off. They eventually stopped at a gas station, and Mr. Leonard took over the driver's seat because Krystalyn was driving "like a maniac[.]" They then drove back to Mr. Leonard's house.

         {¶3} After being inside his home for about ten minutes, Mr. Leonard received a call from the police, who asked him to come outside. As soon as he did, the police arrested him. Notably, Mr. Leonard testified that he did not see or hear the robbery.

         {¶4} According to the victim, Krystalyn approached her almost immediately after she (the victim) withdrew $600 from the ATM. Krystalyn asked for gas money, and the victim indicated she would give her $5, but that she needed to make change at the Rite Aid down the street. This apparently upset Krystalyn, who then reached for the entire stack of bills. A physical altercation ensued, and the victim began yelling for help. Krystalyn eventually ran off without any money.

         {¶5} Sometime during the altercation, the victim saw Mr. Leonard get out of the driver's side of his car and walk in front of it with his arms in the air as if to ask "[w]hat's going on?" The victim explained that Mr. Leonard's car was not parked in a parking spot, but rather in a way that would allow him to pull "[s]traight out." The victim watched Krystalyn get into the passenger side of Mr. Leonard's car before they sped off. The victim later identified Mr. Leonard and Krystalyn from a photo line-up.

         {¶6} According to a witness who was across the street at Auto Zone, he heard the victim calling for help and saw Krystalyn running toward a car that was not parked in a parking spot. The witness did not see Krystalyn enter Mr. Leonard's car because his view was obstructed by another car, but he heard the car speed off with "spinning" and "peeling" tires. The witness then followed the car, wrote down the license plate number, and returned to the bank to give it to the police, whom he assumed would have arrived by then.

         {¶7} An officer ran the license plate number and recognized the owner: Mr. Leonard. The officer then drove to Mr. Leonard's house and waited in his cruiser for approximately 10 minutes before Mr. Leonard arrived. The officer observed Mr. Leonard emerge from the driver's side of the car, and head into his home with Krystalyn. Soon thereafter, the police arrested Mr. Leonard.

         {¶8} A grand jury indicted Mr. Leonard on one count of robbery in violation of Revised Code Section 2911.02(A)(2), and one count of robbery in violation of Section 2911.02(A)(3). Mr. Leonard pleaded not guilty and the matter proceeded to a jury trial. At trial, the State proceeded under the theory of complicity, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts. Mr. Leonard now ...


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