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State v. Henderson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

November 25, 2019

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
DANTE HENDERSON Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016 CR 0713


          For Defendant-Appellant: DALE MUSILLI

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

         NUNC PRO TUNC


          DELANEY, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Dante Henderson appeals his June 16, 2017 conviction and sentence by the Richland County Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiff-Appellee is the State of Ohio.


         {¶2} Defendant-Appellant Dante Henderson was indicted for one count of Possession of a Deadly Weapon While Under Detention, a second-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2923.131(B) and (C)(2)(b)(i). Henderson entered a plea of not guilty and the matter proceeded to a jury trial on June 15, 2017. The following evidence was adduced at trial.

         {¶3} Henderson is an inmate at the Mansfield Correctional Institution located in Mansfield, Ohio, serving a sentence for aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. On January 23, 2016, Corrections Officer Kevin Theory was assigned to Housing Unit 1-D at the Mansfield Correctional Institution. Henderson's prison cell is located in Housing Unit 1-D. C.O. Theory was conducting his rounds in Housing Unit 1-D when he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from Henderson's cell. C.O. Theory opened the cell door and asked Henderson to come out so C.O. Theory could perform a pat down. The purpose of the pat down was to determine if the inmate was holding any contraband, such as drugs.

         {¶4} Henderson complied and posted up on the wall by facing the wall, putting his hands flat on the wall, and spreading his legs a little farther than shoulder-width apart. C.O. Theory started to perform the pat down, but Henderson turned his shoulders. C.O. Theory told Henderson to put his hands back on the wall and continued the pat down, when Henderson turned his shoulders again. Because Henderson twice pulled away from the wall and turned his body, C.O. Theory felt there was a security issue because Henderson was hiding something. C.O. Theory handcuffed Henderson's hands behind his back and took Henderson to a Day Room to conduct a strip search. A Day Room is a vacant room within the Housing Unit. This particular Day Room had large window in the door and a large window next to the door facing the hallway so the interior of the room was visible to the corrections officers from outside the room. Before entering the Day Room with Henderson, C.O. Theory did a walk-through of the room to determine if any inmates or contraband were in the room. C.O. Theory did not observe any contraband in the Day Room before he took Henderson inside.

         {¶5} C.O. Theory placed the handcuffed Henderson in the Day Room and locked the door while he awaited the arrival of another male corrections officer to assist with the strip search. While waiting, C.O. Theory walked to the officer's station to check on the status of the other corrections officer. C.O. Theory then walked back to the Day Room and posted himself in front of the door, facing the window in the doorway. While he was standing at the doorway, C.O. Theory observed through the window that Henderson had a shank in his hand. He watched Henderson, with his side facing C.O. Theory, place the shank on the windowsill of the window next to the door. After Henderson put the shank on the windowsill, he walked to the exterior wall of the room.

         {¶6} Once the second corrections officer arrived, he and C.O. Theory entered the Day Room and secured the shank. They performed a strip search on Henderson and found no other contraband.

         {¶7} C.O. Theory described the shank as six inches in length, with a three inch exposed piece of metal. The handle of the shank was wrapped in cloth. The exposed metal appeared to have a beveled, tapered edge to give it the sharp cutting edge like a knife. The State presented a photograph of the shank observed by CO. Theory in State's Exhibit 1:

         (Image Omitted)

         {¶8} At the close of the State's case, Henderson moved for an acquittal pursuant to Chm.R. 29. The trial court denied the motion.

         {¶9} The jury found Henderson guilty. The trial court sentenced Henderson to seven years in prison, to be served consecutively with his ...

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