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State v. Richards

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

December 24, 2019

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Gregory L. Richards, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, No. 18CR-2025

         On brief:

          Ron O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Sheryl L. Prichard, for appellee.

         On brief:

          Kura, Wilford & Schregardus Co., L.PA., and Sarah M. Schregardus, for appellant.

          DECISION

          KLATT, P.J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Gregory L. Richards, appeals from a judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas following his conviction and sentence for involuntary manslaughter and trafficking in heroin. Because the trial court properly imposed consecutive sentences, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On April 27, 2018, a Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant for involuntary manslaughter in violation of R.C. 2903.04, a felony of the first degree; corrupting another with drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.02, a felony of the second degree; aggravated trafficking in drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.03, a felony of the fourth degree; and trafficking in heroin in violation of R.C. 2925.03, a felony of the fifth degree. Appellant initially entered a not guilty plea.

         {¶ 3} On February 13, 2019, the trial court held a plea hearing at which the prosecutor provided the following factual summary. On December 24, 2017, appellant was renovating an apartment and found a baggie containing a substance he thought to be heroin. He provided the drugs to a female acquaintance, which she administered to herself while seated in appellant's vehicle. Shortly thereafter, the woman lost consciousness. Appellant attempted CPR, then drove her to a fire station for treatment. The woman was ultimately transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. The coroner's toxicology report listed the woman's cause of death as acute fentanyl intoxication.

         {¶ 4} Following this factual recitation and a Crim.R. 11 colloquy, appellant entered a guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter and trafficking in heroin as charged in the indictment. The trial court accepted appellant's guilty plea, found him guilty, entered a nolle prosequi on the remaining counts in the indictment, and delayed sentencing for the preparation of a presentence investigation report.

         {¶ 5} At the March 28, 2019 sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed a 6-year prison term for involuntary manslaughter and a 12-month prison term for trafficking in heroin. The court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively for a total of 7 years.

         {¶ 6} Appellant appealed, asserting a single assignment of error:

The trial court erred when it imposed consecutive sentences contrary to law.

         {¶ 7} In his sole assignment of error, appellant challenges the imposition of consecutive sentences. "An appellate court will not reverse a trial court's sentencing decision unless the evidence is clear and convincing that either the record does not support the sentence or that the sentence is contrary to law." State v. Robinson, 10th Dist. No. 15AP-910, 2016-Ohio-4638, ΒΆ 7, ...


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