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State v. Johnson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

December 26, 2019

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
QUANTRAIL JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-18-628906-A

         JUDGMENT: AFFIRMED

          Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney, and Brandon Piteo and Tasha L. Forchione, Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee.

          Mark A Stanton, Cuyahoga County Public Defender, and David Martin King, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          RAYMOND C. HEADEN, JUDGE

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant Quantrail Johnson ("Johnson") appeals his conviction following a bench trial. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         Procedural and Substantive History

         {¶ 2} This case stems from a shooting that occurred on April 15, 2018. That day, Jason Gain ("Gain") and his girlfriend Monalisa McCoy ("McCoy") went to McCoy's father's house on Nevada Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, to do laundry. Gain had been staying at this house before he moved in with McCoy, and Johnson was staying at this house on the date of the incident. Johnson and Gain were friends, and McCoy met them both through her father.

         {¶ 3} McCoy testified that she started her laundry and then went outside and sat in her car. Johnson came outside and asked her if she could take him to get some of his belongings. She told him to ask Gain if it was all right for her to do so. Johnson went back inside the house and, shortly thereafter, returned to McCoy's car and got in on the passenger side. McCoy began to drive away and called Gain. Hearing that Gain was upset, McCoy turned around and went back to her father's house. McCoy and Johnson went back inside the house, and Johnson began arguing with Gain. Gain went outside to his truck, and Johnson followed him outside to continue the argument. Several minutes later, Johnson came back inside. At this point, McCoy had called her father to come home because Gain and Johnson's argument was escalating and she was nervous about what might happen. McCoy testified that she witnessed Johnson retrieve a shotgun from inside the house, load the gun, and go back outside. McCoy went to the bathroom, called her father again, and then heard a gunshot and proceeded to call 911. McCoy then went outside, where she observed Johnson standing over Gain, who had been shot and was tying a pair of pants around his leg to stop the bleeding.

         {¶ 4} Gain testified that he had gone out to his truck to drink a Mike's Hard Lemonade and Johnson approached him and pointed a shotgun in his face. Gain testified that he tried to grab the gun and then was shot in his leg. Gain testified that Johnson helped him tie up his leg and that McCoy drove Gain to the hospital. At the hospital, police interviewed Gain and McCoy. Both stated in their initial interviews that they did not know the identity of the person who shot Gain. At trial, Gain testified that he had been reluctant to tell police that his friend had shot him. McCoy testified that Gain told her not to identify Johnson to the police. Both identified Johnson as the shooter at trial.

         {¶5} Johnson was arrested on May 15, 2018. On May 22, 2018, the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Johnson on one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), one count of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises in violation of R.C. 2923.162(A)(3), and one count of having weapons while under disability in violation of RC. 2923.13(A)(2). The first three counts carried one- and three-year firearm specifications. Johnson was appointed counsel, and pretrial hearings were held on May 31, 2018; June 11, 2018; July 2, 2018; July 19, 2018; July 26, 2018; and August 2, 2018. At each of these hearings, defense counsel requested a continuance for discovery and ongoing negotiations, and the trial court granted each continuance.

         {¶ 6} On August 8, 2018, Johnson filed a pro se "notice to deny consent to any continuances 'at the request of the defendant'" and a motion to dismiss. On August 29, 2018, the trial court overruled Johnson's pro se motion to dismiss. On September 27, 2018, Johnson waived his right to a jury trial and the case proceeded to a bench trial. On September 28, 2018, the court found Johnson guilty of both counts of felonious assault with one- and three-year firearm specifications, and one count of having weapons while under disability. The court found Johnson not guilty of discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises.

         {¶ 7} On October 29, 2018, the court held a sentencing hearing. Both counts of felonious assault were merged for sentencing, and the court imposed a sentence of three years for felonious assault, to be served consecutively to three years for the firearm specifications and concurrently to one year for having weapons while under disability, for an aggregate prison term of six years.

         {¶ 8} Johnson now appeals, presenting six assignments of error for our review.

         Law and Analysis

         I. ...


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