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Date: 01-11-2019

Case Style:


Case Number: 2018CA00039

Judge: John W. Wise


Plaintiff's Attorney: JOHN D. FERRERO

Defendant's Attorney: AARON KOVALCHIK


In March 2017, S.B worked as a waitress at Grinder's in Alliance, Ohio. S.B
ended a relationship that month and on March 12, her coworkers Jamie Callahan and
Tanette Preas thought getting S.B out for an evening would get her mind off the breakup.
{¶ 3} At approximately 10:30 that evening, they arrived at Rey's, a bar in Alliance.
Others joined as well, including Bugara, who was S.B's supervisor at Grinder's.
{¶ 4} S.B started out drinking Crown Royal and coke, and when others did not
finish their drinks, she did. She also did some shots. Bugara was flirty with S.B that
evening and S.B was flirty in return. Everyone was having a good time.
{¶ 5} At some point, however, due to the amount of liquor she consumed, S.B
went outside and vomited. Realizing she was too drunk to drive, she went back into the
bar and asked Callahan and Preas if they would like to walk with her to her apartment,
about a mile and a half away, and stay with her since they had both been drinking as well.
When they left on foot at approximately 2:00 a.m. S.B thought both Callahan and Preas
had decided to go to her place, but as they walked toward her apartment, she realized it
was Callahan and Bugara with her.
{¶ 6} When she tried to recall the events of the evening the following day, S.B did
not recall actually leaving the bar, but did recall the walk home and feeling sick. During
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 3

the walk home, S.B fell once in the snow. She recalled Callahan and Bugara ahead of
her with their arms around each other and laughing.
{¶ 7} S.B did not recall inviting Bugara, but did not dissuade him from joining them
as she did not feel threatened. Once at her apartment, Callahan asked S.B for clothes to
sleep in. When S.B bent over to find clothing for Callahan in her bottom dresser drawer,
she fell over. S.B later remembered Callahan's voice, and that she was trying to get S.B
off the floor and into bed, but S.B just wanted to stay on the floor because Callahan
touching her and moving her made S.B feel like she was going to vomit again.
{¶ 8} Callahan left S.B where she fell. She and Bugara then ate what they found
in S.B's refrigerator and drank liquor they found in the house as well. Callahan then fell
asleep on the sofa.
{¶ 9} The next thing S.B recalled was waking up due to pain in her anus. She was
on her side on her bed and Bugara was behind her with his penis inserted in her rectum.
S.B passed out again.
{¶ 10} S.B next woke to Callahan frantic because she did not know what time it
was and both she and S.B had to be at work. Once fully awake, S.B noticed she was in
bed with the covers pulled up over herself, and that her work clothing was half off. Her
shirt was pulled up and her bra unhooked. Her pants and underwear were pulled down to
mid-thigh. Bugara was gone.
{¶ 11} S.B contacted her father to take her and Callahan to their cars. She did not
say anything to Callahan about what happened, because she did not want to believe it
happened. The event seemed dream like to her. But when S.B started dressing herself,
she noticed her anus hurt. She further noted her knee hurt when walking.
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 4

{¶ 12} S.B's father took her and Callahan to their cars. S.B did not mention
anything to her father either as she did not know how to raise such a subject with her
{¶ 13} Once home again, S.B looked at the blue sheets on her bed and noticed a
semen stain, which confirmed her suspicions. She called her brother and asked him to
come over. S.B's brother took her to Alliance Hospital where she reported she had been
sexually assaulted. As per protocol, hospital staff contacted police. Officer Patrick Kelly
of the Alliance Police Department responded to the hospital and spoke with S.B. He
interviewed S.B while wearing a point of view camera which recorded the interview. S.B
was visibly shaken and upset while she relayed the above outlined events to Kelly. She
gave Kelly the keys to her apartment and permission to search the same. Kelly contacted
his shift commander and requested a detective to meet him at the apartment as he
believed there would be evidence to collect.
{¶ 14} Detective Matthew Shatzer met Kelly at S.B's apartment. Shatzer
photographed the bedroom as well as the rest of the apartment. Because S.B had stated
she believed there was semen on the bed sheets, Shatzer used an alternative light source
on the sheets which revealed an area of possible body fluids on the fitted sheet. The
sheets were collected as evidence.
{¶ 15} Because Alliance Hospital does not have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
(SANE) on staff, S.B was sent to Aultman Hospital for a sexual assault examination. After
processing the scene at the apartment, Shatzer went to Aultman to speak with S.B. He
found S.B upset, but she relayed the same sequence of events to Shatzer as she had to
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 5

Kelly. When Shatzer spoke with S.B two days later, her recall of events remained the
{¶ 16} Shatzer also spoke with Callahan. The evening of March 12, 2017 was the
first time Callahan had ever socialized with S.B. Callahan confirmed they were all at Rey's
after work at Grinder's and that all felt too drunk to drive. She further confirmed that S.B
passed out on her bedroom floor while she was trying to get clothing for Callahan to sleep
in. Callahan stated she and Bugara tried to get S.B into bed without success, so they left
her on the floor. She further recalled herself and Bugera drinking some more and eating
before she went to sleep on the sofa. In the morning, she awoke on the sofa and noted
Bugera was gone. Although she had never heard S.B invite Bugera into her bedroom,
she thought maybe he was in S.B's bedroom, but did not find him there. S.B was alone
in her room on her bed. Callahan noted S.B seemed hungover, but she gave Callahan no
indication that anything else was wrong.
{¶ 17} Karen Rowlands is a SANE nurse at Aultman Hospital and performed S.B's
sexual assault examination. Rowlands swabbed several areas of S.B's body including
anal, perianal and vaginal regions. She sealed these swabs and other evidence in
envelopes, placed them in the rape kit and gave the kit to Shatzer. Shatzer delivered the
kit and the sheets recovered from S.B's bed to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations
Crime Laboratory (BCI).
{¶ 18} Sara Horst is a forensic biologist at the BCI. She examines items of
evidence for the presence of bodily fluids. She examined S.B's oral, anal, perianal and
vaginal swabs. None of the swabs contained sperm cells, but one was positive for
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 6

semen. Horst did find sperm cells on the fitted sheet. The sheet and the anal and
perianal swabs were sent to the DNA section of the BCI laboratory for further analysis.
{¶ 19} Emily Feldenkris works in the DNA section of the BCI. She further
examined the fitted sheet. Using a DNA standard developed from an oral swab
submitted to the lab from Bugara, Feldenkris was able to develop a DNA profile from the
sperm cells on the fitted sheet and compare it to Bugara’s DNA profile. Feldenkris
concluded that the likelihood of the stain being left by anyone other than Bugara was
one in one trillion.
{¶ 20} Male-specific Y-STR testing was conducted on S.B's anal and perianal
swabs. This type of testing looks for DNA found on the Y-chromosome and thus
possessed only by men. Bugara was consistent with the male DNA found on the anal
and perianal swabs. The profile isolated from the swab would not be expected to occur
more frequently than 1 in 700 males in the United States population. This statistic – 1 in
700 – is the rarest Y-STR estimate observed.
{¶ 21} As a result of these events, on June 23, 2017, the Stark County Grand
Jury returned an indictment charging Bugara with one count of rape pursuant to R.C.
2907.02()(1)(a), a felony of the first degree and one count of sexual battery pursuant to
R.C. 2907.03(A)(1) and/or (A)(2), a felony of the third degree. Bugara pled not guilty to
the charges and elected to proceed to a jury trial, which began on February 20, 2018.
Before trial began, the state dismissed the single count of rape.
{¶ 22} The state called seven witnesses, including S.B. Bugara called one
witness - Preas. During Preas’ testimony, Bugera attempted to introduce text messages
between Preas and S.B. The state objected because Bugera had not disclosed the texts
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 7

during discovery, nor during the state's case-in-chief. Instead, counsel for Bugera had
waited until late the afternoon before to disclose this evidence, and disclosed only one
text message at that time. The court limited Bugara to asking if Preas was in contact
with S.B at 3:59 a.m the morning in question, which Preas answered in the affirmative.
The trial court excluded, however, the content of the texts. Bugara made no proffer as to
the content of the texts.
{¶ 23} After hearing all the evidence and deliberating, the jury returned a verdict
of guilty of the charge of sexual battery. Bugara was sentenced to four years in prison
and was classified as a Tier III sexual offender.
{¶ 24} Bugara filed an appeal, and the matter is now before this court for
consideration. He raises three assignments of error:
{¶ 28} In his first assignment of error, Bugara argues the trial court abused its
discretion when it prohibited him from introducing text messages during his direct
examination of Preas. We disagree.
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 8

{¶ 29} First, we review a trial court's decision regarding allegations of non
compliance with discovery rules under an abuse of discretion standard. Crim.R. 16(L). In
order to find an abuse of discretion, we must determine the trial court's decision was
unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable and not merely an error of law or judgment.
Blakemore v. Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 450 N.E.2d 1140 (1983).
{¶ 30} Next, Crim.R. 16(A) sets forth the general purpose of Crim.R.16 and states:

Purpose, Scope and Reciprocity. This rule is to provide all parties in a criminal
case with the information necessary for a full and fair adjudication of the facts, to
protect the integrity of the justice system and the rights of defendants, and to
protect the well-being of witnesses, victims, and society at large. All duties and
remedies are subject to a standard of due diligence, apply to the defense and the
prosecution equally, and are intended to be reciprocal. Once discovery is initiated
by demand of the defendant, all parties have a continuing duty to supplement their

{¶ 31} Third, as stated in Crim.R. 16(A), discovery rules are reciprocal. Crim.R.
16(H) sets forth a defendant's responsibilities under the rule:

(H) Discovery: Right to Copy or Photograph. If the defendant
serves a written demand for discovery or any other pleading seeking
disclosure of evidence on the prosecuting attorney, a reciprocal duty
of disclosure by the defendant arises without further demand by the
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 9

state. A public records request made by the defendant, directly or
indirectly, shall be treated as a demand for discovery in a criminal
case if, and only if, the request is made to an agency involved in the
prosecution or investigation of that case. The defendant shall provide
copies or photographs, or permit the prosecuting attorney to copy or
photograph, the following items related to the particular case
indictment, information or complaint, and which are material to the
innocence or alibi of the defendant, or are intended for use by the
defense as evidence at the trial, or were obtained from or belong to
the victim, within the possession of, or reasonably available to the
defendant, except as provided in division (J) of this rule:
(1) All laboratory or hospital reports, books, papers, documents,
photographs, tangible objects, buildings or places;
(2) Results of physical or mental examinations, experiments or
scientific tests;
(3) Any evidence that tends to negate the guilt of the defendant, or
is material to punishment, or tends to support an alibi. However,
nothing in this rule shall be construed to require the defendant to
disclose information that would tend to incriminate that defendant;
(4) All investigative reports, except as provided in division (J) of this
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 10

(5) Any written or recorded statement by a witness in the defendant’s
case-in-chief, or any witness that it reasonably anticipates calling as
a witness in surrebuttal.

{¶ 32} Crim.R. 16(L) sets forth the trial court's role in regulating discovery between
the parties. For the most part, the trial court maintains discretion to sanction discovery

(L) Regulation of Discovery.
(1) The trial court may make orders regulating discovery not
inconsistent with this rule. If at any time during the course of the
proceedings it is brought to the attention of the court that a party has
failed to comply with this rule or with an order issued pursuant to this
rule, the court may order such party to permit the discovery or
inspection, grant a continuance, or prohibit the party from introducing
in evidence the material not disclosed, or it may make such other
order as it deems just under the circumstances.
(2) The trial court specifically may regulate the time, place, and
manner of a pro se defendant’s access to any discoverable material
not to exceed the scope of this rule.
(3) In cases in which the attorney-client relationship is terminated
prior to trial for any reason, any material that is designated “counsel
only”, or limited in dissemination by protective order, must be
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 11

returned to the state. Any work product derived from said material
shall not be provided to the defendant.

{¶ 33} Counsel for Bugara was obligated to provide the text messages to the state
pursuant to Crim.R. 16(H). “The overall objective of the criminal rules ‘is to remove the
element of gamesmanship from a trial.’ ” State v. Darmond, 135 Ohio St.3d 343, 2013
Ohio-966, 986 N.E.2d 971, ¶ 19 quoting City of Lakewood v. Papadelis, 32 Ohio St.3d 1,
3, 511 N.E.2d 1138 (1987). “The purpose of the discovery rules ‘is to prevent surprise
and the secreting of evidence favorable to one party.’ ” Id. quoting Lakewood, 32 Ohio
St.3d at 3, 511 N.E.2d 1138 (1987).
{¶ 34} According to the docket in this matter, Bugara requested discovery on July
3, 2017. The state responded to Bugara's request and requested reciprocal discovery on
July 14, 2017. Bugara did not provide or mention any text messages to the state until late
afternoon on February 22, 1018, the day before Preas’ testimony. Further, at that time,
counsel for Bugara provided just one text message to the state. During Preas’ testimony,
counsel attempted to question her about texts between herself and S.B. Questioned by
the court upon the state's objection, counsel alleged he had just found out about the text
messages the day before. Transcript of trial, February 22, 2018 (T. II) 151-158.
{¶ 35} Contrary to Bugara's argument, the trial court's ruling on the matter did not
entirely prohibit testimony regarding the text messages. Instead, because counsel for
appellant argued all he wanted to demonstrate that S.B was in contact with Preas at 3:59
a.m, the trial court permitted counsel to ask that question, but did not permit counsel to
introduce the messages themselves. T. III, 156, 158. Preas answered affirmatively.
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 12

Appellant further argues introduction of the text messages was vital to impeaching S.B's
credibility as she had denied texting Preas. However, counsel cross-examined S.B as

[Counsel for Bugara]: Ma'am, if Tanette has a text from you at 3:50
a.m. saying everything is ok, we made it back home; would you think
Tanette would lie about a thing like that getting a text from you?
[S.B]: No.

T(II) 83.

{¶ 36} We find the trial court's remedy under these facts excluding the text
messages falls within the boundaries of Crim.R 16(L), and further, that appellant was
permitted to establish what he sought to establish. We therefore find no abuse of
{¶ 37} The first assignment of error is overruled.
{¶ 38} In his second assignment of error, Bugara argues his counsel rendered
ineffective assistance by failing to provide the text messages between S.B and Preas to
the state and further by failing to subpoena witnesses from Preas' cellular service provider
to verify the messages. We disagree.
{¶ 39} To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must
demonstrate: (1) deficient performance by counsel, i.e., that counsel's performance fell
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 13

below an objective standard of reasonable representation, and (2) that counsel's errors
prejudiced the defendant, i.e., a reasonable probability that but for counsel's errors, the
result of the trial would have been different. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687
688, 694, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984); State v. Bradley, 42 Ohio St.3d 136,
538 N.E.2d 373 (1989), paragraphs two and three of the syllabus. “Reasonable
probability” is “probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.” Strickland
at 694, 104 S.Ct. 2052.
{¶ 40} While counsel for Bugara should have provided the text messages to the
state in a timely fashion, and should have subpoenaed the appropriate witnesses to
introduce such evidence, Bugara still fails to establish the second Strickland prong as he
cannot demonstrate prejudice. In regard to the messages, counsel for appellant stated
"Your Honor, all I want to try to establish is that [Preas] was in communication [with S.B]
[up to] 3:59. That's it." T. III 156. Counsel was permitted to ask this question of Preas and
Preas answered affirmatively. T. III 158.
{¶ 41} We therefore find Bugara suffered no prejudice and overrule the second
assignment of error.
{¶ 42} Bugara's third assignment of error argues his conviction is against the
manifest weight and sufficiency of the evidence. We disagree.
{¶ 43} On review for sufficiency, a reviewing court is to examine the evidence at
trial to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would support a conviction. State
v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492 (1991). "The relevant inquiry is whether,
after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 14

of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable
doubt." Jenks at paragraph two of the syllabus, following Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S.
307, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). On review for manifest weight, a reviewing
court is to examine the entire record, weigh the evidence and all reasonable inferences,
consider the credibility of witnesses and determine "whether in resolving conflicts in the
evidence, the jury clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice
that the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered." State v. Martin, 20 Ohio
App.3d 172, 175, 485 N.E.2d 717 (1st Dist.1983). See also, State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio
St.3d 380, 678 N.E.2d 541 (1997). The granting of a new trial "should be exercised only
in the exceptional case in which the evidence weighs heavily against the conviction."
Martin at 175.
{¶ 44} Bugara went to trial charged with one count of sexual battery pursuant to
R.C. 2907.03(A)(1) and/or (A)(2). These sections state:

(A) No person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the
spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply:
(1) The offender knowingly coerces the other person to submit by
any means that would prevent resistance by a person of ordinary
(2) The offender knows that the other person's ability to appraise the
nature of or control the other person's own conduct is substantially

Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 15

{¶ 45} Sexual conduct is defined in R.C. 2907.01(A):

“Sexual conduct” means vaginal intercourse between a male and female; anal
intercourse, fellatio, and cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; and,
without privilege to do so, the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or
any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal opening of
another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal or anal

{¶ 46} Bugara first argues the state failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove
sexual conduct occurred.
{¶ 47} S.B testified she awoke due to pain in her backside. Before passing out
again, she realized Bugara was behind her with his penis inserted in her anus. T(I) 53.
{¶ 48} Later that day, S.B saw a SANE nurse at Aultman Hospital who swabbed
S.B’s anal and perianal areas. Those swabs were sent to the BCI where it Y-STR testing
determined that Bugara’s DNA was consistent with the DNA isolated from the anal and
perianal swabs. T(III)126-132. Additionally, sperm cells belonging to Bugara were found
on the fitted sheet on S.B’s bed. T(III) 121-123. We find this evidence was sufficient to
prove sexual conduct occurred.
{¶ 49} Next, Bugara argues the state failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove
S.B was substantially impaired.
{¶ 50} The trial court instructed the jury that “substantially impaired means a
present reduction, diminution, or decrease in the victim’s ability either to appraise the
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 16

nature of her conduct or control her conduct.” T(IV) 21. S.B testified that she consumed
mixed drinks and shots on the evening in question and eventually vomited outside the bar
due to excessive consumption. T(II) 42-43, 45.She does not recall portions of the evening,
but was aware she, Callahan, and Bugara walked to her apartment and that she fell once
on the walk home. T(II) 47-48. She further recalled falling over as she attempted to get
clothing for Callahan to sleep in, and then passing out on the floor. T(II) 52. Through
Callahan's testimony, the state proved Bugara should have been aware of S.B's
condition. Callahan testified that after S.B passed out on the floor, she and Bugara
attempted to get her up and into bed. Being unsuccessful in the attempt, they left her
where she fell. T(III) 57. We therefore find sufficient evidence to support a finding of
substantial impairment.
{¶ 51} Last, Bugara points to inconsistencies in S.B’s testimony vis-ŕ-vis Callahan
and Preas, and argues S.B should not have been believed by the jury due to these
inconsistencies. The weight to be given to the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses
however, are issues for the trier of fact. State v. Jamison, 49 Ohio St.3d 182, 552 N.E.2d
180 (1990). The jury was free to accept or reject any or all of the evidence offered by the
parties and assess the witness's credibility. “ ‘While the jury may take note of the
inconsistencies and resolve or discount them accordingly * * * such inconsistencies do
not render defendant's conviction against the manifest weight or sufficiency of the
evidence.’ ” State v. Craig, Franklin App. No. 99AP-739, 2000 WL 297252, (Mar. 23,
2000), quoting State v. Nivens, Franklin App. No. 95APA09-1236, 1996 WL 284714, (May
28, 1996). Indeed, the jurors need not believe all of a witness's testimony, but may accept
only portions of it as true. State v. Raver, Franklin App. No. 02AP-604, 2003-Ohio-958, ¶
Stark County, Case No. 2018CA00039 17

21, citing State v. Antill, 176 Ohio St. 61, 67, 197 N.E.2d 548 (1964); State v. Burke,
Franklin App. No. 02AP-1238, 2003-Ohio-2889, citing State v. Caldwell, 79 Ohio App.3d
667, 607 N.E.2d 1096 (1992).
{¶ 52} Appellant points to inconsistencies in S.B's testimony with that of Callahan
and Preas. None of these inconsistencies, however, pertain to the elements of sexual
battery, but rather things that may or may not have occurred before the actual assault on
S.B. There is no evidence in this record to indicate the jury lost its way in making its
credibility determinations.
{¶ 53} We find the state produced sufficient evidence to support Bugara’s
conviction and further find the conviction is not against the manifest weight of the

Outcome: The final assignment of error is overruled.

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