Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Criminal Appeal from Municipal Court Trial Court Case No.
SMALLS, Atty., Assistant City of Dayton Prosecuting Attorney,
Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee
MATTHEW BATZ, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellant
1} Defendant-appellant, Sean Whitehead, appeals from
his conviction in the Dayton Municipal Court after the trial
court found him guilty of menacing, loitering, and two counts
of child enticement. In support of his appeal, Whitehead
contends that there was insufficient evidence presented at
his bench trial to support his conviction. Whitehead also
contends that his conviction was against the manifest weight
of the evidence. For the reasons outlined below, the judgment
of the trial court will be affirmed.
and Course of Proceedings
2} On January 25, 2019, Whitehead was charged by
complaint with one count of aggravated menacing in violation
of R.C. 2903.21(A), one count of menacing in violation of
R.C. 2903.22(A), one count of loitering in violation of R.C.
2907.241(A)(4), and three counts of child enticement in
violation of R.C. 2905.05(A), (B), and (C). The charges
stemmed from Whitehead's interactions with 13-year-old
K.M. on the afternoon of January 16, 2019.
3} After the complaint was filed, Whitehead pled not
guilty to the charges and the matter was scheduled for a
bench trial. On the day of trial, Whitehead's trial
counsel filed a motion to dismiss the child enticement charge
under R.C. 2905.05(A) on grounds that the Supreme Court of
Ohio had declared that section of the statute
unconstitutional in State v. Romage, 138 Ohio St.3d
390, 2014-Ohio-783, 7 N.E.3d 1156. In response to the motion,
the State dismissed that particular charge, but proceeded on
all the other charges in the complaint.
4} At trial, K.M. testified that on January 16,
2019, she was walking alone to pick up her brother from his
elementary school in Dayton, Ohio, when she noticed a male,
who she later identified as Whitehead, slowly drive by her in
a small silver car. K.M. testified that Whitehead was looking
at her as he drove past. K.M. testified that Whitehead then
made a U-turn and drove up next to where she was walking on
the sidewalk. K.M. testified that Whitehead had his
front-passenger window rolled down and asked her if she would
get inside his vehicle so that she could give him directions
to Xenia Avenue.
5} K.M. testified that she declined to get into
Whitehead's vehicle and walked away. However, K.M.
testified that when she walked away, Whitehead continued to
slowly drive behind her. K.M. testified that she then saw
Whitehead pull his car over and make movements as though he
was going to exit his car. In response to seeing those
movements, K.M. testified that she became scared and started
to run to her brother's school. K.M. testified that she
began to run because she thought that Whitehead was going to
"grab" her. Trial Tr. p. 9.
6} When she arrived at her brother's school,
K.M. met her cousin at the front of the school building. K.M.
testified that she told her cousin "a guy was trying to
get [her]." Id. at 10. K.M. testified that
while she was talking to her cousin, Whitehead drove by the
school about 30 to 40 seconds after she had arrived. After
seeing Whitehead again, K.M. testified that she went into the
school and reported the incident to the school's
principal. K.M. testified that she also reported the incident
to Anjanette Tevis, a case manager at the school K.M.
referred to as "Miss Angie." Id.
7} Tevis also testified at trial and confirmed that
she had encountered K.M. on the afternoon in question. Tevis
testified that when she first encountered K.M, K.M. appeared
"agitated" and "scared." Id. at
21. Tevis also testified that "[i]t looked like
something had happen[ed] to upset [K.M.]." Id.
8} Officer Joe Pence of the Dayton Police Department
also testified at trial. Pence testified that he responded to
the incident and met with K.M. on the afternoon in question.
Pence testified that K.M.'s demeanor was "jacked
up" and "excited." Trial Tr. p. 29. Officer
Pence also testified that it looked "like [K.M.] had
been scared." Id.
9} Officer Pence further testified that K.M. gave
him a description of the car involved in the incident. Upon
receiving K.M.'s description, Officer Pence informed
other police crews about the car. In continuing his
investigation, Pence testified that on the following day, he
contacted East End Community Center ("East End"),
which has multiple cameras set up in the area. Pence
testified that East End provided him with video footage
showing K.M. walking to the school and Whitehead's
vehicle driving by shortly thereafter.
10} The State submitted the East End video footage
as State's Exhibit 2. The video footage showed a girl
walking briskly on the sidewalk toward the school building
while looking over her shoulder. The video footage also
showed a small silver car driving by the school approximately
30 seconds later. As it drove by, the car began to make a
slight right turn in K.M.'s direction toward the entrance
to the school's parking lot. However, instead of making
the turn, the car changed course and continued to drive down
the road it was traveling on and eventually drove out of the
11} Officer John Beall of the Dayton Police
Department also testified at trial. Officer Beall testified
that on January 23, 2019, he encountered the silver car that
was involved in the incident with K.M. Officer Beall
testified that he pulled the car over based on it having no
front license plate and based on the child enticement
incident in question. Beall testified that he approached the
car, made contact with the driver, and identified the driver
as Whitehead. Beall also testified that he had Whitehead exit
his car so that he could handcuff Whitehead and place him in
the backseat of his cruisier. Beall thereafter conducted an
inventory search of Whitehead's car, which yielded a
large knife with a 7" blade under the front seat.
12} In addition, Officer Beall testified that 30
minutes to an hour after his first contact with Whitehead,
Whitehead spontaneously said he was "not a child
molester or rapist." Trial Tr. p. 43. Beall testified
that Whitehead made this statement before Beall had the
opportunity to inform Whitehead about the child enticement