from the Knox County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 17 CR
Plaintiff-Appellee CHARLES T. MCCONVILLE Knox County
Defendant-Appellant JOHN P. PARKER
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J Hon. Craig R. Baldwin,
J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.
Kevin Remillard appeals his conviction of one count of Murder
in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A), an unclassified felony with
a firearm specification in violation of R.C. 2941.145 and one
count of tampering with evidence in violation of R.C.
2921.12(A)(1), a felony of the third degree.
OF FACTS AND THE CASE
On June 10, 2017, a revolver in the possession of Appellant
discharged twice and one bullet struck Nick Remillard and
caused his death. The parties presented the case to the jury
arguing that the only disputed issue was whether Appellant
had acted with the purpose to kill Nick Remillard. Appellant
contended that the firing of the weapon was reckless or
accidental and that he had no purpose to kill Nick. Appellee
presented a note drafted by Appellant after the shooting
contending that the admissions contained within it, combined
with the concealment of the body in the pool and disposal of
the gun, supported a conclusion that Appellant acted
purposely. The jury found that Appellant acted purposely and
convicted Appellant of murder with a firearm specification
and tampering with evidence.
In April 2015, Appellant was evicted from his home in
Columbus and called his aunt, Melanie Remillard for help. Ms.
Remillard's mother had been admitted to an extended care
facility, so Melanie Remillard invited Appellant to live in
her vacant home. Soon Nick Remillard, the victim and Melanie
Remillard's son, moved into the home and started a dog
sitting business. Nick occupied the ground floor and
Appellant primarily stayed in the upper levels of the home.
Nick was an avid video game player and participated in
multi-player games over the internet and according to his
Mother his games could become quite loud and chaotic.
Appellant befriended a neighbor, Roy Daubenspeck, and spent
some time at his home. Daubenspeck hired Appellant on some
construction projects and asked for his help to resolve
computer issues. While they were not close friends, they did
spend time together and discussed mutual interests, and
Daubenspeck often provided Appellant with transportation as
Appellant had no vehicle of his own.
Daubenspeck owned a Taurus .357 caliber revolver and
Appellant and he often handled the weapon when Appellant
visited. Daubenspeck and Appellant discussed a lose screw in
the weapon, and Appellant suggested a possible repair. The
revolver was operable, but had misfired on one occasion when
Daubenspeck had attempted to fire it rapidly. Appellant had
never fired the weapon prior to June 10, 2017, but he did
know where the weapon and ammunition was stored in
On June 11, 2017, Roy Daubenspeck discovered a stack of items
in his driveway that he identified as the property of
Appellant. With it he discovered a note from Appellant that
stated: "Nothing in world makes sense. Lack of sleep,
constant pain, who knows, but I snapped. These things are
yours, Kevin." The text of the note worried Daubenspeck,
especially after discovering that his revolver and ammunition
were missing. Daubenspeck knocked on Appellant's door,
but there was no answer. He called Melanie Remillard but was
unable to reach her. He then called 911 and the Knox County
Sheriffs Office responded.
Deputy Scott Baker responded to the call and Daubenspeck
relayed that he had found the note and Appellant's
property in the driveway. After reviewing the note, Deputy
Baker became concerned that Appellant may be suicidal, so he
knocked on Appellant's door. No one responded, but the
deputy noticed several dogs in the house. He knew that the
home was owned by Melanie Remillard, so he contacted her for
assistance with the dogs so he could search for Appellant
inside the home.
Melanie Remillard arrived and confined the dogs in the back
yard. Deputy Baker and Deputy Wolfe entered the home with
caution, having been advised that Appellant may be carrying
Daubenspeck's revolver. They entered the home with the
goal of locating Appellant and insuring that he and anyone
else in the home was safe. They found the first floor in
disarray but did not find any person or body. Deputy Wolfe
found a note on the second floor on a table in plain view. He
read the first few lines, concluded it was a suicide note and
picked up the note with the hope that its contents would lead
to finding Appellant.
Deputy Baker noticed that the writing in the note was similar
to the writing in the note discovered by Daubenspeck. After
reading the complete note his assessment of the situation
changed as the author of the note mentioned several times
that he had shot Nick Remillard. Deputy Baker concluded that
he may now be investigating a potential murder and suicide
and reported his findings to Detective Light.
Detective David Light responded to Detective Baker's
report regarding the note and some blood stains in the home.
Because the note suggested that a homicide and perhaps a
suicide had occurred, the officers conducted a limited search
for injured or fatally wounded persons. While no victims were
found, the officers did discover blood stains and bloody
footprints in the home and, at that time, Detective Light
sought and received a warrant to expand his search to the
home and surrounding area.
During a later search, the body of Nick Remillard was
discovered in the murky water of the swimming pool behind the
home. The officers found a pool pump and cord wrapped around
the body, and surmised that this was done to keep the body
submerged below the surface. They also discovered a blanket
in the pool and concluded that the relatively clean condition
of the blanket suggested that it had been in the dirty pool
water for only a short period of time. The knot in the end of
the blanket, and what appeared to be blood and dog hair on
the blanket lead the officers to conclude that it had been
used to drag Nick's body from the home to the pool.
During a search of the home, the deputies discovered a bullet
hole in the wall and, at the end of the bullet's
trajectory, bullet fragments.
On June 13, 2017, Detective Minot conducted a search for
Appellant. He recruited cadaver dogs because he was still
concerned that Appellant had committed suicide and that he
was looking for a body. The search was unsuccessful because
Appellant had not committed suicide, but had been wandering
the streets pondering his fate. He had kept the revolver,
disassembled it and disposed of it in three different
locations. He then contacted an attorney and surrendered
himself to the Mt. Vernon Police Department where he was
arrested, then charged with murder and tampering with
The state presented testimony from several experts to connect
the evidence found at the scene to Appellant and the victim.
Jeff Lee, Licking County Coroner, completed an autopsy and
concluded that that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to
the head. The death occurred 24 to 36 hours prior to the
autopsy and the weapon was two to three feet from the victim
when the shot was fired. Heather Williams, an expert from the
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, examined the bullet
fragments recovered from the scene and the bullet removed
from Nick and concluded that they were .38 caliber and that
they could be fired from a Taurus revolver, the same type of
weapon owned by Roy Daubenspeck and discharged while in
Appellant's possession. Samuel Troyer, DNA analyst,
concluded that the blood stains in the home were comprised of
the blood of Nick Remillard. Rebecca Barrett of the Bureau of
Criminal Investigation compared the handwriting on the note
found by Daubenspeck (Exhibit 5) and the note found by
Detective Baker (Exhibit 7) to the handwriting samples
submitted by Appellant and concluded that both were written
Appellant testified to the events leading to the shooting. He
acknowledged that he learned that his neighbor, Daubenspeck,
had a revolver and that he had discussed the weapon with
Daubenspeck and handled it when he visited Daubenspeck. He
described chronic physical ailments, his depression,
persistent suicidal thoughts and described his mood on the
weekend of the shooting as particularly bleak. The drive to
commit suicide was very strong that day, so he went into
Daubenspeck's home and took the revolver and the
ammunition, with the intent of committing suicide. He did not
follow through, but walked to the local market, purchased
beer and returned home.
He drank some of the beer and was talking with Nick while
Nick was playing video games. He told Nick that he had almost
committed suicide earlier that day and, in response to
Nick's question, stated he would have used
"his" revolver. He brought Roy Daubenspeck's
gun down from his room to show Nick and they purportedly
handled the weapon and discussed how it looked similar to a
weapon used by a fictional television character. Appellant
decided to return the gun to Daubenspeck's house and as
he left, he inexplicably decided to "dry fire" the
weapon into the wall. The gun discharged into the wall and
Appellant stated he was shocked by the report. He fumbled
with the weapon and though he does not deny that it
discharged a second time, his testimony does not provide a
clear explanation of the second shot. During his testimony he
did not expressly state that he was aware that the gun fired
a second time:
I immediately jumped, because I wasn't expecting it to go
off. I went and just started fumbling with it to get the
cylinder out. When it sticks we usually put our hand across
the release and signal(sic) the hammer back which kind of
advances it inside. The only thing I can assume is that the
hammer slapped back and hit a shell, but it it would be
around this (indicating) distance, maybe a little further
this (indicating) way. But I was trying to get the gun after
it fired back to my neighbor and put it away and pretend that
I never even took it from him. I immediately went out to the
porch. I had no idea Nick got hit.
Appellant described how he left the home, unloaded the weapon
and returned the bullets to the jar on the shelf in
Daubenspeck's home. He kept the empty shells and the
weapon and, until he returned to the house, he claims that he
did not know that Nick had been shot. When he returned home,
he found Nick bleeding profusely and responded to Nick's
request for water, but claims to recall little more after
Nick fell silent. He does recall living in the streets and
the details of his disposal of the gun. He separated the
bullets, the cylinder and the body of the pistol and put the
pistol in a potato chip bag and tossed it into the Kokosing
River. He put the cylinder in a black sock and "whipped
it into the first pond at Foundation Park" and threw the
bullets in the river. He had no recollection of writing the
eight page note, Exhibit 7, which provided a much different
version of the story.
Exhibit 7 is the note allegedly drafted by Appellant after
the shooting. The entire note was read to the jury without
objection. Some significant statements include:
As for yesterday, I woke in such pain and hate that all that
my head was thinking was to kill everybody that was harmed --
that has harmed me my whole life.
So I was just going to ride my bike somewhere and shoot
myself, but I have no idea how Nick got in the way. I know I
fired a round into the wall to maybe let him know to leave me
alone or something, but all I remember is him keep doing or
saying whatever he was saying or doing, and I shoot him. At
that point my mind just wanted to kill my family in mass.
Other than me shooting Nick, my mind is blank and tormented.
My mind is in so many places with no real me inside that I
just couldn't keep going anymore. I'm a fucked up
mess, and I killed Nick, fuck.
I was just going to ride my bike somewhere and shoot myself.
I was relieved with my own demise and end, the end of my
constant pain and misery but something took me elsewhere,
something inside that I just can't keep away.
He never deserved this. There is anything he could have done,
I was just going to shoot myself. I kept going downstairs
hoping it didn't really happen, that it was just a
nightmare, but it wasn't. I killed Nick.
Though I really did try, I was on my way to kill myself when
for whatever reason they wouldn't let me without shooting
How could I just shoot Nick?
I just knew when I woke up that I wouldn't make it, but
Nick was not part of the plan. So much shouldn't have
happened, just so much somehow went way wrong with this. I
just was going to disappear, no one knowing what become of
me, but instead I hurt Nick. He wasn't supposed to be
involved in this. What the fuck happened? I am so sorry I
shoot him, so fucking not what I was going to do. It was just
going to be me that died, not him.
It really should have not happened with Nick. I was just
going to kill myself.
Appellant conceded that the handwriting in Exhibit 7 appeared
to be his, but he offered no reconciliation between his
testimony and the version of the facts in his note.
Appellant's trial counsel submitted jury instructions and
after review by the trial court and discussion regarding the
terms and timing of the instructions, they were approved with
the exception of Appellant's request for an instruction
on the issue of "accident." The trial court
declined to include it, stating that it found no evidence of
an accident in the record. Appellant's trial counsel
stated: "Just could the record reflect that we did ask
for an instruction on accident and the Court declined to give
that instruction?" The trial court responded "so
noted" and no further discussion regarding that
The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder and tampering
with evidence and Appellant was sentenced to a prison term of
fifteen years to life on count one, three years on the
firearm specification as to Count one, to be served
consecutive and prior to the indefinite term on count one,