Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-18-630930-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Jillian J. Piteo, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
R. Fischbein-Cohen, for appellant.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
EILEEN KILBANE, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant, Marvin Teasley ("Teasley"),
appeals his burglary and theft convictions. For the reasons
set forth below, we affirm.
2} In August 2018, Teasley was indicted on one count
of burglary, a felony of the second-degree, and one count of
theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. Teasley pleaded not guilty
at his arraignment, and several pretrials were conducted.
After rejecting an offer from the state to reduce the
burglary charge to a third-degree felony, and after rejecting
the exploration of a further reduction from a third to a
fourth-degree felony, Teasley elected to have the matter
tried to a jury. On January 19, 2019, a jury trial commenced.
3} At the trial, the jury heard testimony from three
witnesses, including Gerald Sims ("Sims"). Sims
testified that he is employed as a maintenance technician at
St. Timothy Park Apartments, a 40-unit independent living
senior facility in Garfield Heights.
Sims testified that on May 8, 2018, he arrived to work at
approximately 4:30 a.m. to prepare the building, which was
scheduled to be used as a primary election voting location
that day. Around 5:00 a.m., Sims opened the community room
and, after a few moments, noticed that the 55-inch television
that was usually mounted on the wall was missing. Sims
immediately called the Garfield Heights Police Department,
and officers arrived shortly thereafter.
5} Sims testified that when the police arrived, he
escorted them to the community room and pointed out where the
missing television had been mounted. Sims gave the officers a
short tour of the building and then went to the property
management office, where they proceeded to review video
surveillance footage. Sims testified that upon reviewing the
footage, they discovered that at approximately 1:00 a.m.,
there was an individual watching the television in the
community room. Sims testified that he instantly recognized
Teasley as the individual watching the television.
6} A series of still photographs, captured from the
surveillance video footage, depicts Teasley's activities
in the complex. One photograph depicts Teasley entering the
apartment building, with a key, at 12:58 a.m. Another
photograph depicts Teasley standing in front of the vending
machine in the community room. Another still photograph
depicts Teasley wheeling the television set outside the
apartment building on a shopping cart.
7} Sims testified that he only knew Teasley's
first name, but had encountered him several times when
Teasley was visiting a tenant named Ms. Banks
("Banks"). Sims testified that Teasley was not a
tenant of the apartment building. Sims testified that because
Teasley was not a tenant of the apartment, he would not have
been issued a key and that a tenant would have to have given
Teasley their key. Sims also stated that because Teasley was
not a tenant, he was not allowed to be in the community room
8} Lisa Mauriocourt ("Mauriocourt"), the
property manager of the apartment building, testified that as
a Department of Housing and Urban Development
("HUD") funded complex, the residents are required
to abide by strict federal guidelines. Mauriocourt explained
that the building is comprised of 40 one-bedroom apartments,
designed to accommodate one tenant per unit and that only the
lease holder is considered a resident.
9} Mauriocourt testified that tenants are allowed to
have overnight guests for a maximum stay of three consecutive
days, but management must have prior notification and the
guest must sign in each time they enter the building.
Mauriocourt testified that there are also strict guidelines
about keys. Mauriocourt explained that each tenant is given
three keys at the beginning of their tenancy; one for the
entrance to the building, one for their respective unit, and
one for their assigned mailbox. Mauriocourt testified that
tenants are not allowed to duplicate the keys or to give them
to other individuals.
10} Mauriocourt testified that Teasley was not a
tenant of the apartment complex, that he had applied to be a
tenant, but HUD did not approve his application. Mauriocourt
testified that she would see Teasley about five or six times
per month when he was visiting Banks. Mauriocourt stated that
on a few occasions, when she had to discuss some matter with
Banks, Teasley would accompany Banks to the office.
11} Mauriocourt testified that prior to the incident
in May 2018, she had observed Teasley on video using a key to
enter the complex. As a result, she issued a lease violation
to Banks warning her not to give her keys to anyone else.
Mauriocourt testified that when she issued the lease
violation, Banks explained she had not been feeling well and
gave her keys to Teasley, so she would not have to go
downstairs to open the door. Mauriocourt testified that she
had to issue another lease violation to Banks for violating
the guest policy, because of reports that Teasley was seen
unaccompanied while smoking in the back of the building and
while in the community room.
12} After the state's case in chief, Teasley
motioned the court for acquittal. The trial court denied the