Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County No. B-1705430 Court of
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Ronald
Springman, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and
Joshua A. Thompson, Assistant Public Defender, for
Looking to replace several windows in their home, Donald and
Rita Stopler, via a chain of referrals, contacted
defendant-appellant Chadwick Barnthouse in November 2014. He
provided the Stoplers with a favorable estimate, which
convinced them to enter into a contract with him for the job,
and consistent with their agreement, the Stoplers handed him
a check for several thousand dollars. Unfortunately, Mr.
Barnthouse never performed his end of the bargain, nor did he
return all of the money. Eventually convicted for theft, Mr.
Barnthouse now appeals, challenging his conviction on weight
and sufficiency grounds. Our review of the record, however,
convinces us that the jury had before it sufficient and
credible evidence upon which to convict him. We accordingly
affirm his conviction.
After receiving an outreach from Mrs. Stopler, Mr. Barnthouse
visited the Stopler residence, inspected the windows, and
provided the Stoplers with an estimate of $7, 200 for the
total cost of the window replacement (i.e., parts and labor).
Encouraged because Mr. Barnthouse's estimate fell below
other estimates that they had received, the Stoplers entered
into a written contract with him for the work, signed by both
Mr. Barnthouse and Mrs. Stopler. Though Mr. Stopler did not
sign the contract, both Mr. and Mrs. Stopler testified that
he was present when the contracting occurred.
The contract called for Mr. Barnthouse to remove seven
windows and to install new windows in their place. The total
price was $7, 267, of which the Stoplers paid $6, 200 upfront
to Mr. Barnthouse in the form of a personal check from their
joint-checking account. After about six weeks, with no
windows materializing, Mrs. Stopler contacted Mr. Barnthouse,
who claimed that the windows were delivered, but in the wrong
size. After another six weeks elapsed, Mr. Barnthouse
reported that the windows were again delivered in the wrong
size. Eventually, the Stoplers grew suspicious with Mr.
Barnthouse's evasiveness and the lack of any new windows.
After giving him several opportunities to perform under the
contract, they turned the matter over to the authorities.
Mr. Barnthouse ultimately returned $1, 000 to the Stoplers,
but never repaid the balance nor did he perform any of the
work required under the contract. A warrant for his arrest
was issued in spring of 2015, but authorities did not
apprehend him until 2017. After his arrest, Mr. Barnthouse
was indicted and tried before a jury for the theft of the $5,
200 still owed to the Stoplers. A jury ultimately found him
guilty, and the trial court sentenced him to a year in prison
(for which he was credited 267 days) and ordered him to pay
restitution in the amount of $5, 200.
Mr. Barnthouse now appeals his conviction and raises a single
assignment of error challenging both the weight and
sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction.
In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, the court must
ask, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to
the prosecution, whether a rational trier of fact could have
found all the essential elements of the crime beyond a
reasonable doubt. State v. Brooks, 1st Dist.
Hamilton No. C-000763, 2001 WL 1590643, *2 (Dec. 14, 2001).
Evaluation of a challenge to the manifest weight of the
evidence requires that the appellate court review the entire
record, weigh the evidence and reasonable inferences,
consider the credibility of the witnesses, and determine
whether in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the trier of
fact clearly lost its way, resulting in a manifest
miscarriage of justice. Id.
Initially, Mr. Barnthouse challenges the evidence underlying
the elevation of the offense pursuant to R.C. 2913.02(B)(3)
to a theft involving a person in a ...