Leonard v. Warden, Case No. 1:09-cv-056

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
Decision Date14 May 2015
Docket NumberCase No. 1:09-cv-056
PartiesPatrick Leonard, Petitioner, v. Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary, Respondent.

Chief Judge Susan J. Dlott

Order Denying Habeas Petition, Affirming Reports and Recommendations, and Overruling Objections

In this case, Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz has recommended that Petitioner Patrick Leonard's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Habeas Petition") (Doc. 6) be denied. Pending before the Court are Magistrate Judge Merz's Report and Recommendations ("R&R") (Doc. 47), Petitioner's Objections to the R&R ("Objections") (Doc. 53), Magistrate Judge Merz's Supplemental Report and Recommendations ("Supplemental R&R") (Doc. 60), and Petitioner's Objections to the Supplemental R&R ("Supplemental Objections") (Doc. 66). Respondent Warden has not objected to the R&R nor to the Supplemental R&R. Respondent Warden filed a Memorandum in Response (Doc. 56) to Petitioner's Objections, but did not respond to Petitioner's Supplemental Objections.

For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY the Habeas Petition, ADOPT the R&R and the Supplemental R&R, and OVERRULE the Objections and Supplemental Objections.

I. BACKGROUND
A. Underlying Facts

The Ohio Supreme Court summarized the underlying facts and the trial court proceedings as follows:

{¶ 1} On July 29, 2000, Patrick T. Leonard, defendant-appellant, followed Dawn Flick, his former fiancée, while she was driving her car, forced her to a stop, andordered her to return to her home. Leonard followed Flick to her house, and, once inside, Leonard handcuffed Flick, attempted to rape her, and then shot her three times in the head. Leonard was convicted of the aggravated murder, attempted rape, and kidnapping of Flick and was sentenced to death.
{¶ 2} Leonard and Flick became engaged in the fall of 1995. During their engagement, Leonard fathered a son by Penny McBride. Leonard and Flick ended their engagement in 1998 but continued to date. Leonard also continued his relationship with McBride. Approximately nine months before Flick was murdered, a second child was born to Leonard and McBride. Leonard tried to conceal from Flick and others that he was the child's father.
{¶ 3} The evidence presented at Leonard's trial indicated that Flick had intended to end her relationship with Leonard. In his confession, Leonard stated that he had a "broken heart" because he was losing Flick. On Friday, July 28, 2000, the day before the murder, Leonard told Alvie Woods, a friend of Leonard's and Flick's, that if he caught Flick "fooling around" with anyone, Leonard would kill somebody. According to Woods, Leonard had said, "[I]f I can't have her, no one can."
{¶ 4} Flick tended bar at her family's restaurant, Les Flick's Home Like Inn, on the evening of July 28 and early morning of July 29. After the restaurant closed for the night, Flick drove to Snow's Lake Bar to meet some friends. Leonard followed Flick and, according to his confession, "got her to pull over." Leonard then confronted Flick about her earlier statement that she would be staying home for the evening. Leonard left Flick alone after she agreed to call him when she returned home. When she arrived at Snow's, Flick appeared upset, according to Woods, Deborah Schroeder, and Reva Ketterer, and she told them that Leonard had just run her car off the road.
{¶ 5} When Snow's closed for the night, Flick planned to go to the house of her friend, Ryan Gries. Leonard followed Flick as she drove to Gries's house and again stopped her car. Leonard ordered Flick to return to her home, and he followed her there. Once inside, Leonard handcuffed her wrists. Leonard then pointed a gun at Flick as she called to tell Gries that she was not coming to his house. During their telephone conversation, Gries was able to elicit from Flick that she was with Leonard and was in danger.
{¶ 6} Gries and his friend Frank Minges rushed to Flick's house. When Leonard heard Gries's truck drive up, he shot Flick three times in the head. He then fired through the door, striking Gries in the chest. Gries and Minges left to call the police, and Leonard fled in his truck.
{¶ 7} Leonard then called a friend, Sergeant Nick Chaplin, a deputy sheriff in Campbell County, Kentucky. Leonard told Chaplin that he had shot and killed Flick, and he agreed to surrender to Chaplin. Leonard drove to Kentucky, where he was taken into custody.
{¶ 8} After being advised of his Miranda rights, Leonard gave a taped statement confessing to Flick's murder. In his confession, Leonard admitted that before shooting Flick, he had restrained her with handcuffs. Leonard said that he and Flick had talked about "making love [and had] decided to do that on the floor." Leonard said that when he had heard Gries's truck drive up, he jumped up off of Flick, pulled his pants up, and shot Flick three times in the head. Leonard also admitted having shot at Gries and Minges through Flick's front door.
{¶ 9} Police officers investigating the shooting found Flick's partially clothed body lying in a pool of blood in her living room. Flick's panties were down to her thighs, one pant leg was completely off, the other pant leg was around her calf, and one shoe was off. Her wrists were bound by handcuffs.
{¶ 10} Dr. Robert Pfalsgraf, chief deputy coroner, determined that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. Flick had been shot once in the face, once in the back of the head, and once in the back of her neck at the hairline. The shot to the back of Flick's head was fatal.
{¶ 11} Pfalsgraf found no injuries to Flick's vagina or anus and no semen in those areas. Pfalsgraf noted, however, that this lack of evidence did not preclude a finding that Leonard had penetrated Flick.
{¶ 12} Pfalsgraf also testified that the pattern of bruising on Flick's wrists corresponded to the handcuffs found on her wrists. Petechiae were found on her face and neck, indicating ruptured blood vessels caused by strangulation. Flick also had ligature bruising on her neck that matched the pattern of the necklace she was wearing. Based on these injuries, the coroner concluded that Flick had been strangled and had struggled with her assailant while she was handcuffed.
{¶ 13} Leonard was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder. The first count charged Leonard with purposely causing Flick's death while committing or attempting to commit rape. R.C. 2903.01(B). The second count charged Leonard with purposely and with prior calculation and design causing Flick's death. R.C. 2903.01(A). Leonard was also indicted for attempted murder in Counts Three and Four (R.C. 2903.02 and 2923.02), rape in Count Five (R.C. 2907.02[A] [2]), and kidnapping in Count Six (R.C. 2905.01[A] [2]).
{¶ 14} The aggravated-murder counts each contained two death-penalty specifications. The first specification charged aggravated murder as part of a course of conduct to kill or attempt to kill two or more persons. R.C. 2929.04(A)(5). The second specification charged aggravated murder during a rape or an attempted rape. R.C. 2929.04(A)(7). Gun specifications were included with all counts except Count Six, kidnapping.
{¶ 15} At trial, the defense presented testimony from five witnesses and other documentary evidence. Leonard did not testify. During defense counsel's opening statement, counsel conceded that Leonard had shot Flick. However, thedefense's theory was that Leonard had been trying to salvage his relationship with Flick, had not intended to kill her, and had not acted with prior calculation and design. The defense also contested the charges of rape and kidnapping and denied that Leonard had attempted to murder Gries and Minges.
{¶ 16} The defense introduced evidence to show that Leonard had purchased a planter with flowers from Renck's Garden Center and had given it to Flick as a gift on the afternoon before the murder.
{¶ 17} Eddie Sayers, an employee of Sam's Corner Store in New Baltimore, Ohio, testified that both Leonard and Flick had been in the store the day before the murder: Leonard in the morning, and Flick in the afternoon. Sayers testified that Leonard had not seemed upset and that Flick had appeared happy. On cross-examination, Sayers stated that he had not seen Leonard and Flick together that day and admitted that he did not know how Leonard acted later that day.
{¶ 18} Rick Schoeny, a life-long friend of Leonard's, testified that Leonard always had guns and carried a gun in his jacket. Leonard's brother Ted testified that Leonard had sometimes threatened to kill people when he was upset. Ted noted, however, that this was "the way [Leonard] always voiced his opinion" and that these threats were never taken seriously.
{¶ 19} Other testimony indicated that Leonard and Flick had spent time together in the days leading up to the murder and had plans to go horseback riding the following day. In his confession, Leonard claimed that he and Flick had begun to engage in consensual sex before he shot her. He also said that he "went blank" just before shooting her.
{¶ 20} Leonard also confessed to having shot at Flick's front door to keep Gries and Minges from entering the home. Evidence at trial indicated that Leonard had fired only one shot at the door.
{¶ 21} The jury convicted Leonard of the two aggravated-murder counts (Counts One and Two) and kidnapping (Count Six). The jury found Leonard not guilty of the two attempted-murder counts (Counts Three and Four) but guilty of the lesser included offense of felonious assault. Leonard was also found not guilty of rape (Count Five) but was found guilty of attempted rape.
{¶ 22} As to the capital specifications, the jury found Leonard guilty of committing murder during a rape or attempted rape. R.C. 2929.04(A)(7). He was found not guilty of the R.C. 2929.04(A)(5) course-of-conduct specification. Leonard was also found guilty of all gun specifications.
{¶ 23} After the penalty phase of the trial, the jury recommended
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