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State v. Perry

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont

August 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Appellee,
v.
REGINA PERRY, Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No. 2018CR000114

          D. Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Katherine Terpstra, for appellee

          W. Stephen Haynes, Clermont County Public Defender, Robert F. Benintendi, for appellant

          OPINION

          PIPER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Regina Perry, appeals her conviction in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas for permitting drug abuse.

         {¶ 2} Perry leased an apartment on Mount Carmel Tobasco Road in Clermont County Ohio and allowed her son, Tyler Liming, to live with her in the apartment. While living with his mother, Liming began operating a drug trafficking business in which he used the "dark web" to order narcotics and other drugs. Those drugs were then delivered to the apartment and purchased by Liming's customers. Oftentimes, Liming's customers would use the recently purchased drugs with Liming in the apartment.

         {¶ 3} In October 2016, an officer responded to a 911 call reporting a "nonbreather, possible overdose" at the apartment. When the officer arrived, Liming was attempting to perform CPR on an unresponsive individual, Brendann Payne, who was lying on the apartment's living room floor. Shortly thereafter, Payne flatlined at the apartment and was unable to be saved by the paramedics. After an autopsy was performed, it was concluded that Payne died from the ingestion of alcohol and a synthetic opiate known as U-47700. It was further determined that Payne died within minutes of ingesting the drug.

         {¶ 4} While responding to the 911 call, the officer noticed an abandoned safe near the apartment. Because the safe was unclaimed, the officer opened the safe and discovered documentation and property belonging to Liming. The safe also contained an unlabeled bottle of pills, which were stamped as Percocets, but were later identified as U-47700. The safe was transported to the police department and the following day, one of Liming's friends attempted to claim the safe. At that time, Liming's friend was interviewed and ultimately disclosed information that prompted further investigation into Liming.

         {¶ 5} Around the same time as Payne's death, Perry was having difficulties living with Liming, including issues arising from his drug abuse. As a result, Perry began searching for an apartment closer to her boyfriend and began staying with him approximately three nights a week. Thereafter, on January 30, 2017, Perry terminated her lease, and she and Liming moved out of the apartment.

         {¶ 6} In September 2017 Liming was arrested on charges related to Payne's death. Specifically, Liming was indicted for providing the U-47700 substance to Payne and for committing a felony which ultimately resulted in Payne's death. In March 2018, Liming pled guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of aggravated trafficking in drugs. As a result of his plea, the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas found Liming guilty of violating R.C. 2903.04(A), a felony of the first degree, and R.C. 2925.03(A)(2), a felony of the third degree. Liming was also charged in a second case with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which he also pled guilty to. As a result of that plea, Liming was found guilty of violating R.C. 2923.32(A)(1), a felony of the first degree.

         {¶ 7} In February 2018, shortly before Liming pled guilty, Perry was indicted for permitting drug abuse in violation of R.C. 2925.13(B). According to the bill of particulars, the state alleged Perry was "the lessee, occasional occupant, and a person having custody or control of [the] apartment" and Perry allowed the apartment to be used by her son, Liming, and those associated with him for the "trafficking in a variety of drugs including * * * L.S.D., alprazolam, hashish, and U-47700." The bill of particulars further indicated that Perry knew the apartment was used by Liming's associates and customers to ingest drugs after they were purchased, and this use resulted in Payne's death.

         {¶ 8} Perry pled not guilty to the charges and the matter proceeded to a jury trial. The state presented eight witnesses in its case-in-chief, and Perry did not testify or present any witnesses in her defense. The jury returned a guilty verdict, and the trial court sentenced Perry to 120 days in jail and four years of community control. Perry now appeals, raising one assignment of error.

         {¶ 9} Assignment of Error No. 1:

         {¶ 10} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ENTERING A FINDING OF GUILTY BECAUSE THE JURY'S VERDICT WAS AGAINST ...


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