Court Nos. 2018-CR-279, 2018-CR-265
J. VanEerten, Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney, and Barbara
Gallé Rivas, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
A. Klimkowsky, for appellant.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT
1} Appellant, Daniel Kitzler, appeals the judgment
of the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas, sentencing him to
34 months in prison after accepting his guilty plea to one
count of aggravated assault and one count of inducing panic,
and ordering him to serve the remaining 1, 089 days of his
postrelease control consecutive to the 34-month prison
sentence. Finding no error in the proceedings below, we
Facts and Procedural Background
2} On October 25, 2018, appellant was indicted on
one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2) and (D)(1)(a), a felony of the second degree,
in case No. 2018-CR-265. This indictment stemmed from an
incident that occurred on October 15, 2018, in which
appellant threatened another individual with a box cutter or
knife outside of a treatment facility in Port Clinton, Ohio,
and was later arrested. While in jail awaiting further
proceedings in case No. 2018-CR-265, appellant staged an
attempted suicide by hanging himself so that he could be
transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Consequently,
appellant was indicted on November 14, 2018, and charged with
one count of inducing panic in violation of R.C.
2917.31(A)(3) and (C)(3), a felony of the fourth degree, in
case No. 2018-CR-279. Thereafter, appellant pled not guilty
to each charge, and the matters proceeded through discovery
and plea negotiations.
3} On January 10, 2019, appellant appeared before
the trial court for a change of plea hearing. At the hearing,
appellant entered a plea of guilty in case No. 2018-CR-265 to
an amended charge of aggravated assault in violation of R.C.
2903.12(A)(2), a felony of the fourth degree, and also
entered a plea of guilty in case No. 2018-CR-279 to the
charge of inducing panic contained in the indictment.
4} Following a Crim.R. 11 colloquy, the trial court
asked appellant to articulate the factual basis for the
charges contained in the indictment. Regarding the assault
charge, appellant indicated that he and another individual
got into an argument because the individual "was upset
that a female was trying to sleep with [him]." Appellant
went on to note that "[a]n argument ensued and then we
tried to fight and then everybody got in between us and
nobody got touched. I went home and got arrested later that
night." The state provided the additional fact that
appellant threatened the individual with a knife.
5} Concerning the charge for inducing panic,
appellant stated: "I hung myself here in the jail and
they said that I was trying to go to the hospital with my
girlfriend, but my girlfriend wasn't at the hospital. She
was down in the padded cell." The state responded to
appellant's articulation of the facts supporting the
inducing panic charge by noting that "[s]ome of the
other inmates knew he was going to [hang himself] and they
called for assistance, but Mr. Kitzler, when the officers
arrived, he was unconscious. He was seizing after they got
him down and gasping for air and he did receive medical
attention thereafter, so it was a dangerous situation, Your
Honor." The court asked appellant if the state's
version of the events was accurate, and appellant responded
in the affirmative.
6} After the foregoing facts were recited, the trial
court accepted appellant's plea and found him guilty of
aggravated assault and inducing panic. The court ordered the
preparation of a presentence investigation report and
continued the matter for sentencing.
7} Appellant's sentencing hearing was held on
February 25, 2019. Prior to imposing sentence, the trial
court noted its consideration of the presentence
investigation report, and heard arguments from the parties
regarding sentencing. For its part, the state noted that
appellant committed the offenses at issue in this case while
he was on postrelease control related to a prior sex offense.
The state emphasized appellant's prior criminal history
and substance abuse issues in support of its request for
consecutive sentences. Appellant's defense counsel
informed the court that appellant had a heroin problem and
also suffered from mental health issues. Defense counsel
acknowledged that appellant had a difficult time
reintegrating into society after being released from prison,
but insisted that appellant had a desire to integrate and to
be free from incarceration. Appellant was offered an
opportunity to speak in mitigation, but declined to do so.
8} After hearing arguments from counsel for the
state and appellant, the trial court set forth the principles
and purposes of sentencing under R.C. 2929.11, as well as the
sentencing factors under R.C. 2929.12 and 2929.13.
Ultimately, the trial court ordered appellant to serve 17