State v. Chapman

Decision Date11 August 2022
Docket Number21CA3742
Citation195 N.E.3d 178
Parties STATE of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Samuel CHAPMAN, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtOhio Court of Appeals

195 N.E.3d 178

STATE of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Samuel CHAPMAN, Defendant-Appellant.

NO. 21CA3742

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Ross County.

DATE JOURNALIZED: August 11, 2022


Max Hersch and Stephen Hardwick, Assistant State Public Defenders, Columbus, Ohio, for appellant.

Jeffrey C. Marks, Ross County Prosecuting Attorney, and Pamela C. Wells, Ross County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

ABELE, J.

{¶1} This is an appeal from a Ross County Common Pleas Court judgment of conviction and sentence. A jury found Samuel Chapman, defendant below and appellant herein, guilty of four offenses: (1) attempted murder, in violation of R.C. 2923.02 ; (2) kidnapping, in violation of R.C. 2905.01 ; (3) grand theft, in violation of R.C. 2913.02 ; and (4) tampering with evidence, in violation of R.C. 2921.12. The trial court merged the grand-theft and tampering-with-evidence offenses and sentenced appellant to serve consecutive terms of imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years and maximum of 26 years.

{¶2} Appellant assigns the following errors for review:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
195 N.E.3d 183
"THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED STRUCTURAL ERROR WHEN IT EXCLUDED A PROSPECTIVE JUROR BECAUSE OF THE JUROR'S DISABILITY."

SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:

"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT MERGING MR. CHAPMAN'S CONVICTIONS FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER AND KIDNAPPING."

THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:

"THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED PLAIN ERROR WHEN IT SENTENCED MR. CHAPMAN TO AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE UNDER THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL REAGAN TOKES LAW."

{¶3} On April 1, 2020, Jennifer Lambert found Barbara Martin bloodied and abandoned in an open field located approximately ten feet from the side of a road. Martin told Lambert that a man stabbed her and tried to drag her to a field. Lambert called 9-1-1. After medical personnel and law enforcement officers responded to the scene, officers identified appellant as a suspect and apprehended him later that day.

{¶4} A Ross County Grand Jury subsequently returned an indictment that charged appellant with attempted murder, kidnapping, grand theft, and tampering with evidence. Appellant entered not guilty pleas.

{¶5} On February 23 through 25, 2021, the trial court held a jury trial. After the parties completed their opening statements, the trial court noted, on the record and outside of the jury's presence, that an issue had arisen before jury selection. When the court asked defense counsel if they wished to add anything to the record, counsel responded affirmatively and the court outlined what had occurred before jury selection began:

The court sent out as a matter of record a set of jury questionnaires. We provide those questionnaires to counsel prior to a trial. We also give a list of all of the jurors [sic] names. One of the jurors that was listed on this month's questionnaires was a juror by the name of [A.B.]. The Judge, I am very familiar with [A.B.]. He is the manager at Unioto for the basketball sports teams. He has Down's Syndrome and when he was twenty-five years old or so he was still the manager of the basketball team. He works also at Kroger Grocery. He doesn't recall my name whenever I see him out, but he always remembers that I am David's dad and he will say, "Hello David's Dad." I believe his duty or his job there is a courtesy clerk is what they call him. Clearly, his questionnaire was filled out by his mother and he signed the questionnaire. So having said all of that it was my intention to leave him on this jury and allow it to go forward and allow him to go through the voir dire process. I had some very large concerns based upon my knowledge of him of whether he would be able to understand or comprehend what was going on and whether or not he would be so easily persuaded or swayed by others but that was only a concern I was going to address if the counsel decided to do so. However, his father came here today instead and with counsel in chambers with me, his father appealed to the court that he not serve on the jury. He indicated that [A.B.]’s focus right now is the upcoming baseball season and nothing else. I indicated to him what the facts of the case were and the father indicated it would be not in [A.B.]’s interest to hear that sort of evidence or have that. With that in mind, I then said thank you and I indicated to counsel that I was going to excuse him from service. Mr. Marks did not object to that. Frankly, I don't recall
195 N.E.3d 184
if the defense objected but I told them I would give them the opportunity to object if they wished to do so and certainly make a record of it. First, does counsel believe that is an accurate recitation of what happened this morning? Mr. Marks?

{¶6} The prosecutor stated that the court's recitation was accurate, and defense counsel agreed. Defense counsel then clarified that they did not object in chambers because the court had indicated that it would give defense counsel the chance to object later.

{¶7} Defense counsel then objected on the record to the trial court's decision to exclude A.B. from jury service before voir dire. Defense counsel suggested that the court's decision "was a bit premature" and that the voir-dire process would have revealed whether A.B. is capable of being seated as a juror. The court, however, noted defense counsel's objection and stated that it already "made the decision about it" and did not believe it needed to overrule appellant's objection. Thus, the court proceeded with the trial.

{¶8} The state's first witness, Angel Blevins, testified that on April 1, 2020 she worked at a Valero gas station. Blevins explained that Barbara Martin visited the store nearly every day and she was familiar with Martin.1 During the early morning hours of April 1, 2020, Martin entered the store. At that time, a man also was inside the gas station. Blevins did not know the man's name, but she noticed him inside the store on previous occasions. At trial, Blevins identified the man as appellant.

{¶9} Blevins stated that, after Barbara Martin completed her purchase, she exited the store, walked to her vehicle and appellant followed. Martin returned to the store, and appellant again followed. When Martin asked Blevins about giving appellant a ride, Blevins said she did not see any issue with giving appellant a ride. Martin and appellant then returned to Martin's vehicle and sat for a moment before leaving.2

{¶10} Jennifer Lambert testified that, on April 1, 2020 while driving on Stone Road, she heard a person scream and observed Martin lying in a field about ten feet from the roadway. Lambert noted that Martin was waving her hand, so she stopped to see if she needed assistance. When Lambert approached Martin, she noticed blood all over Martin's hands and that she held her hands by her neck. Martin repeated "that he stabbed her."

{¶11} Jennifer Lambert attempted to help Martin, and, as she did, Martin turned and looked up the hill. When Lambert noticed a gold Chevrolet vehicle approach, Martin told Lambert to run. At that point, the vehicle's driver stopped, opened the door, exited and walked to the front of the car. Lambert said the driver was so close she could have reached out and touched him.

{¶12} Jennifer Lambert further testified that Martin kept telling Lambert to run and stated "he was going to kill me too." Lambert then yelled at the man and told him to return to the vehicle and that she had called the police. Lambert explained that the man "just kind of looked over at [Martin], shrugged his shoulders like this, and got back in the car." When the man returned to the vehicle, he drove up the hill.

195 N.E.3d 185

{¶13} Ross County Sheriff's Deputy Mitchell Reffett responded to the scene and found Martin, Lambert, and Jason Jones (another person who stopped to help) present. Reffett administered first aid and asked Martin what had happened. Martin advised the deputy "that a guy had stabbed her, and that she had fought him and he was trying to drag her into the field that was located next to the road before he took off in the car." Reffett stated that he noticed a large quantity of blood in the area and the field Martin described is "a marshy area, like a pond, a wetland area."

{¶14} The state presented additional witnesses to prove that appellant is the individual who stabbed Martin. Lindsey White stated that on April 1, 2020, appellant appeared at her house and demanded that White let him inside to talk to White's boyfriend, Marshond. Although White told appellant that Marshond was asleep, appellant nevertheless walked into the house and went to the sink to wash his hands. Appellant then asked White to wake up Marshond because appellant needed clothes. White testified that appellant's presence made her nervous, so she sent a message to a neighbor, Cyndi Hickman, that appellant was at her house and "something didn't feel right."

{¶15} Lindsey White also stated that Marshond woke up and her neighbor, Cyndi Hickman, arrived at the house. White explained that she and Hickman left the house and drove to a store to purchase some items and as they did, they observed "a body getting picked up out [of] the ditch." Shortly thereafter, White and Hickman reported their suspicions about appellant to law enforcement officers.

{¶16} Officers searched the area near White's residence and located Martin's vehicle, a gold Chevrolet sedan, hidden in the woods. Not long after, they spotted appellant running between two strips of airfield at the Ross County Airport.

{¶17} Eventually, officers captured appellant and found a knife in his possession. Appellant told one officer, Ross County Sheriff's Detective Stanley Addy, that "a lady attacked" him with a knife. When Addy pointed out to appellant that appellant carried a knife, he responded, "not that knife." Addy then advised appellant of his Miranda3 rights and appellant retorted, "You have the right to shut the F up."

{¶18} After the state presented its case, including several items of physical...

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2 cases
  • State v. Evans
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • June 7, 2023
    ... ... 2022-Ohio-4092, ¶ 33-57; State v. Wells, 4th ... Dist. Washington No. 21CA16, 2022-Ohio-3793, ¶ 36-41; ... State v. Drennen, 4th Dist. Gallia No. 21CA10, ... 2022-Ohio-3413, ¶ 16-27; State v. Long, 4th ... Dist. Pickaway No. 20CA9, 2022-Ohio-3212, ¶ 8; State ... v. Chapman, 2022-Ohio-2853, 195 N.E.3d 178, ¶ 70-78 ... (4th Dist.); Alexander at ¶ 44-61; State v ... Bontrager, 2022-Ohio-1367, 188 N.E.3d 607, ¶ 34-49 ... (4th Dist.) ...           {¶35} ... We note that the Reagan Tokes Law has been found ... constitutional by the Second, Third, ... ...
  • State v. Carswell
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • December 15, 2023
    ... ... This ... argument was not raised in the trial court and, therefore, ... will not be considered here, in this appeal. "It is ... well-settled that a party may not raise for the first time on ... appeal new issues or legal theories." State v ... Chapman ... ...

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