Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-19-643502-A
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Blaise D. Thomas, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
Friedman & Gilbert, and Marcus S. Sidoti, for appellant
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE
1} This cause came to be heard upon the accelerated
calendar pursuant to App.R. 11.1 and Loc App.R. 11.1.
Additionally, R.C. 2937.222(D) requires that this matter be
given priority and decided expeditiously, with a prompt
decision on the trial court's order.
2} Defendant-appellant, Thomas Hawkins
("Hawkins"), appeals the trial court's decision
revoking his bond and denying him pretrial bail. He raises
one assignment of error for our review:
The appellant should not have been held without bail pursuant
to ORC 2937.222.
3} Finding no merit to his assignment of error, we
Procedural History and Factual Background
4} On August 15, 2019, Hawkins was arrested for
aggravated vehicular homicide after he allegedly drove with a
blood-alcohol content of .199, went through a red light at a
high rate of speed, and collided with another vehicle,
killing its driver.
5} At Hawkins's initial court appearance in
Cleveland Heights Municipal Court on August 28, 2019, he
pleaded not guilty. The case was bound over to the Cuyahoga
County Court of Common Pleas, and on August 28, 2019, the
docket reflects that his bond was set for $100, 000.
6} The trial court's August 30, 2019 journal
entry states "first appearance not held," although
Hawkins and his counsel appeared, and that the trial court
reduced Hawkins's bond to $50, 000, with the condition
that he "follow up with mental health services."
Hawkins posted bond and was released.
7} On September 16, 2019, the Cuyahoga County Grand
Jury indicted Hawkins for one count of aggravated vehicular
homicide in violation of R.C. 2903.06(A)(1)(a), a felony of
the second degree; one count of aggravated vehicular homicide
in violation of R.C. 2903.06(A)(2)(a), a felony of the third
degree; one count of failure to stop after an accident in
violation of R.C. 4549.02(A)(1), a felony of the third
degree; and two counts of driving while under the influence
in violation of R.C. 4511.19(A)(1)(a) and (c), misdemeanors
of the first degree. Hawkins pleaded not guilty, and on
September 30, 2019, the trial court ordered that the original
posted bond of $50, 000 "cash/surety/prop." be
8} On October 3, 2019, a different trial judge, who
was assigned after Hawkins's arraignment, held the first
pretrial hearing and granted the state's oral motion to
suspend Hawkins's administrative license, which was
stipulated to by Hawkins's defense counsel. The trial
court also stated that Hawkins was to be placed on
court-supervised release, "GPS/electronic home
monitoring" and "transdermal alcohol detection
monitoring" as part of his bond. The trial court stated
that Hawkins was only allowed to leave his home for court
appearances, probation appointments, medical appointments,
and medical emergencies, and that any additional movement
would require prior approval from the court. It also stated
that Hawkins was to report weekly to the probation department
and submit to alcohol and drug testing during each visit.
Finally, the trial court stated that Hawkins did not have
driving privileges and was not permitted to have, come into
contact with, or be in possession of any firearm. The trial
court then set a bond hearing date and instructed
Hawkins's defense counsel to submit Hawkins's medical
records before the hearing for in-camera inspection.
9} Just days later, on October 8, 2019, the state
filed a motion to deny bail and revoke Hawkins's bond,
and the trial court held a hearing on the motion on October
9, 2019. As of that date, Hawkins had been released on bond
for 39 days.
10} At the hearing, Cleveland Heights Detective
Sergeant David Speece ("Sergeant Speece") testified
that on the night of August 15, 2019, at around 11 p.m., he
received a report of a fatal vehicular accident in Cleveland
Heights, Ohio. He said the driver of one of the vehicles
involved, Eugene Rankin ("Rankin"), was killed and
that the other driver, Hawkins, who was driving a Colorado
GMC pickup truck, was transported to the hospital.
11} Sergeant Speece testified that he reviewed body
camera footage of Hawkins being transported to the hospital
after the crash and said that the footage showed Hawkins in
the ambulance stating, "Just kill me. Just let me go.
Let me die." Sergeant Speece said that Hawkins told the
officer in the ambulance that he was trying to end his life
and had drank some alcohol.
12} Sergeant Speece said that the hospital performed
a blood draw on Hawkins. The state admitted the toxicology
laboratory report showing the results of the blood draw as an
exhibit, which showed that Hawkins had a blood-alcohol
content of .199.
13} Sergeant Speece stated that, at the scene, an
officer from the Ohio State Highway Patrol collected the
"black box downloads" from both vehicles. The data
collected from Hawkins's vehicle showed that five seconds
prior to the accident, Hawkins was traveling at 66 m.p.h. and
at the time of impact, Hawkins was traveling at 71 m.p.h. and
that his throttle remained in full throttle from five seconds
before the impact until the time of impact. He said that the
data also showed that Hawkins did not apply the brakes before
impact. Sergeant Speece testified that Hawkins's vehicle
collided with the driver's side door of Rankins's
vehicle and that both vehicles traveled over 100 feet as a
result of the collision.
14} Sergeant Speece stated that police found a knife
and a "flight instrument manual" in Hawkins's
15} Sergeant Speece said that he spoke to motorists
who witnessed the crash. These witnesses told him that after
the collision, Hawkins exited his vehicle and walked away
from the scene, but was detained by some of the motorists and
held until the police arrived. He said that the witnesses
also stated that Rankins had the green light and Hawkins was
approaching a red light when he went through the intersection
and hit Rankins's vehicle.
16} Sergeant Speece also testified that when he was
at the scene, he was "notified that [Hawkins's
vehicle] was part of a ['be on the lookout' report]
that was placed earlier in the week where Mr. Hawkins was
missing and Solon had made a missing persons report regarding
Mr. Hawkins[.]" He said upon learning this information,
he began "investigating incidents that happened prior to
and leading up to the traffic crash on August 15th."
17} Sergeant Speece stated that he spoke with a
police officer from Solon and learned that Hawkins "had
a previous military career as a * * * nuclear engineer on a
submarine in the United States Navy" and subsequently
worked for NASA. Sergeant Speece learned that on August 6,
2019, Hawkins sent emails to one of his coworkers at NASA,
Dr. Padetha Tin ("Dr. Tin"), which contained
anti-Buddhist rhetoric. Sergeant Speece explained that Dr.
Tin was a Buddhist and stated that he received a copy of the
emails that Hawkins sent to Dr. Tin from the human resources
administrator at NASA. The emails were admitted into
evidence. Sergeant Speece summarized the email Hawkins sent
to Dr. Tin on August 6th, in which Hawkins wrote Buddhism
"was a poverty stricken religion and that their worship
and their ways were not welcome in the United States and that
they should take back the Indian nations and Indian land by
even nuclear weapons, where he would eradicate all the
people, then take the resources of * * * India[.]"
Sergeant Speece said that in one of the emails, Hawkins
identified himself as a Christian.
18} Sergeant Speece also stated that he received
copies of police reports from Solon, which showed that on
August 6, 2019, Hawkins was placed on administrative leave at
NASA as a result of the emails. According to reports, Hawkins
left work and drove to where his ex-wife used to live, then
drove to a Lowe's in Youngstown, Ohio and "picked up
some hinges[, ]" and then drove to a Buddhist meditation
center in Springfield, Illinois, where Dr. Tin was the
president. Sergeant Speece stated that Hawkins told officers
that he conducted surveillance on the meditation center for
hours and "had some good thoughts and bad
thoughts." According to the reports, Hawkins's phone
died while driving to Illinois, and during that time was when
his wife filed a missing persons report with the Solon Police
19} Sergeant Speece stated that the reports showed
that Hawkins eventually returned to his house, where police
located him on August 7, 2019. Sergeant Speece testified that
according to the reports, Hawkins's wife also intended to
seek a divorce around the same time. The reports also stated
that Hawkins's wife recognized that Hawkins was suffering
from mental health issues and asked Hawkins's parents,
who lived in Florida, to intervene.
20} Sergeant Speece testified that police
interviewed Hawkins upon locating him at the house, and a
recording of the interview was admitted into evidence.
Sergeant Speece stated that Hawkins told police during the
interview that he "believed Dr. Tin could control the
thoughts of others" and "had made the Dayton
shooting happen using liquid crystals from his
research," and that Hawkins explained to police that he
sent the email to Dr. Tin "hoping to expose [Dr. Tin]
for using liquid crystals to control other people."
21} Sergeant Speece explained that during the
interview, police learned that Hawkins possessed numerous
firearms and that the police, Hawkins, Hawkins's wife,
and Hawkins's parents arranged to have his parents keep
the weapons for safekeeping until they flew home to Florida,
after which time the firearms were transported to
Hawkins's wife's parents' home in Hudson, Ohio.
22} Also during the interviews, police suggested
that Hawkins receive mental health treatment, but Hawkins
rejected the suggestion, "believ[ing] that his high
intelligence would be affected by any medication or drugs
that might be prescribed by a mental health facility and ...