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State v. Teasley

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 12, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARVIN TEASLEY, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-18-630930-A

         JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Jillian J. Piteo, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

          Ruth R. Fischbein-Cohen, for appellant.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY EILEEN KILBANE, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.

         {¶1} 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.

         {¶4} 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 unescorted.

         {¶ 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 motion, ...


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