Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland
from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016
Plaintiff-Appellee: GARY BISHOP RICHLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR
JOSEPH C. SNYDER
Defendant-Appellant: DALE MUSILLI
W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Patricia
A. Delaney, J.
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.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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:
At the close of the State's case, Henderson moved for an
acquittal pursuant to Chm.R. 29. The trial court denied the
The jury found Henderson guilty. The trial court sentenced
Henderson to seven years in prison, to be served
consecutively with his ...