from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee: JOHN D. FERRERO, JR. STARK CO. PROSECUTOR
KRISTINE W. BEARD
Defendant-Appellant: JACOB T. WILL
Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia
A. Delaney, J.
Appellant Joseph D. Brown appeals from the July 13, 2018
judgment entries of conviction and sentence, incorporating
the July 3, 2018 judgment entry overruling his motion to
suppress, of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee
is the state of Ohio.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
This matter arose around 1:00 a.m. when Jane Doe called 911
to report she was assaulted by appellant, her live-in
boyfriend. Canton police were on the scene within three
minutes. Officers responded to an apartment building on 15th
Street N.W. and found Jane sitting on the front steps of the
multi-unit building, holding a towel to her eye.
Ptl. Robert Huber testified he could see the
"substantial" injury to Jane's eye as he exited
his cruiser, twenty feet away from where she was sitting.
Jane told officers she had been living with appellant since
she was released from jail a short time before. On this
night, appellant was on the phone when Jane asked him a
question. Appellant became angry and struck her once in the
face with a closed fist, knocking her to the ground.
Officers observed blood running down Jane's face and
requested medics to the scene because Jane was obviously
seriously injured. A sergeant arrived on the scene and
photographed her injuries. Officers described Jane as
distraught, crying, and breathing heavily. Her eye was
swollen and beginning to bruise.
A paramedic evaluated Jane's injuries. He testified at
trial and said Jane had traumatic physical injuries to her
face which required immediate medical attention. The left
side of her face was severely bruised and swollen. Her left
eye was swollen almost completely shut, and the eyeball
itself was injured and bleeding. She had a 1-centimeter
laceration to her eyebrow. Her nose and jaw were also swollen
and her left pupil was dilated. The injuries were consistent
with Jane's statement that she was struck hard in the eye
with a closed fist.
Jane had an "alert & oriented" score of three,
indicating she was somewhat dazed. When asked whether she was
intoxicated, the paramedic testified she had a slight odor of
an alcoholic beverage and told him she had taken one
prescription Xanax earlier in the day; he did not believe her
to be under the influence. He noted she was as likely to be
confused from the traumatic injury. Jane was transported to
Mercy Medical Center for further treatment.
Jane spoke to police at the scene and provided
appellant's name and the number of the apartment he was
in. Officers knocked on the door but no one answered. Jane
told them that if the door was locked, he was definitely
inside. The apartment had only one door, and it was on an
upper floor, making it unlikely appellant had exited the
building unseen. Officers also noted they were on the scene
within three minutes and had every reason to believe
appellant was still inside.
Upon the arrival of the sergeant, officers set up a perimeter
around the apartment building, knocked loudly on the door,
and advised anyone inside this was a felony arrest. The
sergeant approved a forced entry and officers entered the
apartment. They found appellant lying in bed and no one else
present. Appellant was asleep or pretending to be asleep.
Police awakened appellant, Mirandized and arrested him.
Appellant at first claimed he didn't know who Jane was,
and then denied hitting her. Officers noted an odor of an
alcoholic beverage emanating from appellant.
Appellee's evidence included photos of Jane from the
night of the assault, medical reports from Mercy Medical
Center, and the paramedic's written report.
The parties stipulated to the fact that Jane Doe died from
unrelated causes prior to appellant's prosecution in the
Appellant was charged by indictment with one count of
felonious assault pursuant to R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a felony of
the second degree [Count I], and one count of domestic
violence pursuant to R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the third
degree [Count II].
Appellant entered pleas of not guilty and filed a motion to
suppress Jane Doe's statements to police in the early
morning hours of February 6, 2018, asserting that admission
of those statements would constitute a violation of the
Confrontation Clause. Appellee responded with a memorandum in
opposition. The trial court overruled the motion to suppress
via a judgment entry dated June 22, 2018 following an
The matter proceeded to trial by jury. Appellant moved for a
judgment of acquittal at the close of appellee's evidence
and the motion was overruled. Appellant was found guilty as
charged. The trial court merged the offenses of felonious
assault and domestic violence and sentenced appellant to a
single prison term of four years.
Appellant now appeals from the judgment entry of conviction
and sentence dated July 13, 2018.
Appellant raises two assignments of error: