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Date: 08-08-2020

Case Style:

STATE OF OHIO v. LASTAN’LE BERNARD WILLIAMS, JR.

Case Number: 28567

Judge: Jeffrey E. Froelich

Court: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Plaintiff's Attorney: JAMIE J. RIZZO

Defendant's Attorney:

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{¶ 3} The presentence investigation report (PSI) and the complainant’s statements
at the sentencing hearing reveal the following facts.
{¶ 4} In 2016, while students at Sinclair Community College, Dennis Boddie met
Williams, and the two became friends. Around 2018, Williams lost his housing when the
person with whom he was staying asked him to leave. For a time, Boddie allowed
Williams to stay with him, against Boddie’s roommate’s wishes. In June 2018, Williams’s
live-in girlfriend contacted Boddie and told him that Williams had been acting differently.
The girlfriend asked Boddie if he would speak with Williams.
{¶ 5} On June 24, 2018, Boddie contacted Williams, and they agreed to meet and
smoke marijuana. In the afternoon, the two men met and started walking toward a store.
Approximately one block from the store, Boddie turned and saw Williams pointing a gun
at him. Williams fired two rounds, one of which struck Boddie’s leg around his right knee.
Boddie turned his body and closed his eyes. Williams continued to fire, but the gun
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jammed. When Boddie opened his eyes, he saw Williams running down the street.
Williams yelled to Boddie, “Next time, I will kill your b*tch ass.”
{¶ 6} At 3:34 p.m., Dayton police officers were dispatched to Boddie’s location on
the report of a shooting. They found Boddie with a single gunshot wound to his leg. At
that time, Boddie reported that he was shot by an unknown individual while walking home
from the store. Boddie stated that he had started running when he saw the gun. When
medics arrived, they transported Boddie to the hospital, where he was treated for his
injury. The police discovered three spent shell casings at the scene. Officers later
interviewed Boddie, who described the weapon that had been used.
{¶ 7} On April 23, 2019, ten months later, Boddie went to the police department
and reported that he had not been honest about the June shooting. Boddie told an officer
what had actually occurred, described Williams, and produced a photograph of Williams
using the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website.
{¶ 8} In July 2019, Williams was indicted on three counts: (1) felonious assault, a
felony of the second degree, with a firearm specification, (2) discharging a firearm on or
near prohibited premises, a felony of the second degree, with a firearm specification, and
(3) having weapons while under disability, a felony of the third degree. Williams
subsequently pled no contest to felonious assault. The State dismissed the remaining
two counts and all specifications.
{¶ 9} After a presentence investigation, the trial court sentenced Williams to seven
years in prison. The court ordered the sentence to be served consecutively to the 18-
month sentence Williams had received in Warren C.P. No. 18CR34528. At the time of
Williams’s conviction in this case, he had approximately four months remaining on his
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Warren County sentence.
{¶ 10} Williams challenges his sentence on appeal.
II. Sentence for Felonious Assault
{¶ 11} In his first assignment of error, Williams claims that his sentence was
“excessive” and unsupported by the record.
{¶ 12} In reviewing felony sentences, appellate courts must apply the standard of
review set forth in R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), rather than an abuse of discretion standard. See
State v. Marcum, 146 Ohio St.3d 516, 2016-Ohio-1002, 59 N.E.3d 1231, ¶ 9. Under
R.C. 2953.08(G)(2), an appellate court may increase, reduce, or modify a sentence, or it
may vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing, only if it “clearly and convincingly”
finds either (1) that the record does not support certain specified findings or (2) that the
sentence imposed is contrary to law. State v. Huffman, 2d Dist. Miami No. 2016-CA-16,
2017-Ohio-4097, ¶ 6.
{¶ 13} “The trial court has full discretion to impose any sentence within the
authorized statutory range, and the court is not required to make any findings or give its
reasons for imposing maximum or more than minimum sentences.” State v. King, 2013-
Ohio-2021, 992 N.E.2d 491, ¶ 45 (2d Dist.). However, in exercising its discretion, a trial
court must consider the statutory policies that apply to every felony offense, including
those set out in R.C. 2929.11 and R.C. 2929.12. State v. Leopard, 194 Ohio App.3d 500,
2011-Ohio-3864, 957 N.E.2d 55, ¶ 11 (2d Dist.), citing State v. Mathis, 109 Ohio St.3d
54, 2006-Ohio-855, 846 N.E.2d 1, ¶ 38.
{¶ 14} R.C. 2929.11 requires trial courts to be guided by the overriding purposes
of felony sentencing. Those purposes are “to protect the public from future crime by the
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offender and others, to punish the offender, and to promote the effective rehabilitation of
the offender using the minimum sanctions that the court determines accomplish those
purposes without imposing an unnecessary burden on state or local government
resources.” R.C. 2929.11(A). The court must “consider the need for incapacitating the
offender, deterring the offender and others from future crime, rehabilitating the offender,
and making restitution to the victim of the offense, the public, or both.” Id. R.C.
2929.11(B) further provides that “[a] sentence imposed for a felony shall be reasonably
calculated to achieve the three overriding purposes of felony sentencing * * *,
commensurate with and not demeaning to the seriousness of the offender’s conduct and
its impact upon the victim, and consistent with sentences imposed for similar crimes
committed by similar offenders.”
{¶ 15} R.C. 2929.12(B) sets forth nine factors indicating that an offender’s conduct
is more serious than conduct normally constituting the offense; R.C. 2929.12(C) sets forth
four factors indicating that an offender’s conduct is less serious than conduct normally
constituting the offense. R.C. 2929.12(D) and (E) each lists five factors that trial courts
are to consider regarding the offender’s likelihood of committing future crimes. Finally,
R.C. 2929.12(F) requires the sentencing court to consider the offender’s military service
record, if any.
{¶ 16} According to the PSI, Williams was 24 years old when the shooting occurred
and 25 years old at sentencing. He had completed high school and one year of college;
while in high school, he was suspended for fighting, but not expelled. Williams had work
experience, with his longest period of employment being one year. Williams reported no
current physical or mental health issues, but he indicated that he sustained a significant
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head injury after a car accident in March 2017 and was diagnosed with ADHD as a child.
Williams reported that he last used alcohol in 2015 and last used marijuana in 2016;
Williams reported no other drug usage.
{¶ 17} Williams’s criminal history consisted of two misdemeanor and three felony
adult convictions; Williams had no juvenile record. His two misdemeanor offenses were
reckless operation of a motor vehicle (age 21) and theft (age 23).
{¶ 18} As for his felony record, in November 2013, Williams (age 19) was convicted
in North Carolina of “accessory after the fact common law robbery”; the court sentenced
him to 6 to 17 months in prison, with 151 days credit for time served, plus two years of
supervised probation. In January 2017 (age 22), he was convicted in Montgomery
County, Ohio, of having weapons while under disability, for which he received community
control. Williams was arrested twice while on community control, and in May 2017,
Williams was ordered to participate in the Secure Transition Offender Program (STOP).
Williams was removed from STOP “after making threats and acting violent toward another
resident.” Williams’s supervision term was ultimately terminated in November 2018 as
“incomplete” due to his conviction in Warren County.
{¶ 19} On November 16, 2018, Williams (age 24) was convicted in Warren County
for having weapons while under disability and improper handling of a firearm in a motor
vehicle; the court imposed 18 months in prison with 121 days of jail time credit. The
online docket in the Warren County case suggests that the Warren County offenses
occurred in July 2018, shortly after the June 24, 2018 shooting in this case.
{¶ 20} Boddie spoke at the sentencing hearing. He stated that he was “in
complete disbelief” that Williams, to whom Boddie had been a good friend, would shoot
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him. Boddie indicated that he was shot in the leg, and “[t]he doctor said I was lucky that
my kneecap didn’t get blown off.” Boddie told the court that Williams “would’ve killed
me.” Boddie also had spoken to the PSI investigator, stating that the shooting had
caused him to be unable to work for three months, resulting in a loss of housing. He also
could not attend school for a semester, leaving him with certain educational expenses.
Boddie expressed that he did not trust people any more, and some family members
distanced themselves from Boddie because they were afraid of Williams. Boddie
requested a maximum sentence for Williams.
{¶ 21} At the sentencing hearing, the trial court indicated that it had reviewed the
PSI and had considered “the purposes and principles of sentencing, [and] the seriousness
and recidivism factors of the Ohio Revised Code including using the minimum sanctions
to accomplish those purposes without unnecessarily burdening governmental resources.”
The trial court noted that Williams had, “starting from 2013, accessory to robbery in North
Carolina, come to Montgomery County, weapons charge 2016; additional weapon charge
in 2018 in which [Williams was] serving 18 months CRC from Warren County Common
Pleas. And now we have a felonious assault with an intent to kill.” The court imposed
seven years in prison for the felonious assault.
{¶ 22} Williams argues that the trial court “may not have fully considered all
relevant factors.” He asserts that Boddie was not hurt badly and that he (Williams) was
remorseful and willing to accept responsibility for his actions.
{¶ 23} The imposed prison sentence was within the statutory range for a felony of
the second degree, and the record reflects that the trial court complied with its obligation
to consider R.C. 2929.11 and R.C. 2929.12, even though it did not orally discuss each
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factor. The trial court’s seven-year sentence for felonious assault was not contrary to
law
{¶ 24} Williams had prior felony offenses, including gun-related offenses, and had
previously been sentenced to prison. Williams had shown aggressive behavior in high
school and while on community control. In committing the felonious assault, Williams
shot Boddie in the leg, and there is nothing in the record to demonstrate remorse on
Williams’s part. Williams pled no contest to the offense, and he made no statement
about the offense to the PSI investigator or to the court at sentencing. The gun’s
jamming appears to have been the only thing that prevented Williams from fatally shooting
Boddie on June 24, 2018, and Williams told Boddie immediately after the shooting that
he (Williams) would kill him (Boddie) the next time. As part of his plea, the State
dismissed additional counts and firearm specifications. With the record before us,
Williams’s sentence was not clearly and convincingly unsupported by the record.
{¶ 25} Williams’s first assignment of error is overruled.
III. Consecutive Sentencings
{¶ 26} In his second assignment of error, Williams claims that “[t]he record does
not support consecutive sentences.”
{¶ 27} In general, it is presumed that prison terms will be served concurrently. R.C.
2929.41(A); State v. Bonnell, 140 Ohio St.3d 209, 2014-Ohio-3177, 16 N.E.3d 659, ¶ 16,
23 (“judicial fact-finding is once again required to overcome the statutory presumption in
favor of concurrent sentences”). However, after determining the sentence for a particular
crime, a sentencing judge has discretion to order an offender to serve individual counts
of a sentence consecutively to each other or to sentences imposed by other courts. R.C.
-9-
2929.14(C)(4) permits a trial court to impose consecutive sentences if it finds that (1)
consecutive sentencing is necessary to protect the public from future crime or to punish
the offender, (2) consecutive sentences are not disproportionate to the seriousness of the
offender’s conduct and to the danger the offender poses to the public, and (3) any of the
following applies:
(a) The offender committed one or more of the multiple offenses while the
offender was awaiting trial or sentencing, was under a sanction imposed
pursuant to section 2929.16, 2929.17, or 2929.18 of the Revised Code, or
was under post-release control for a prior offense.
(b) At least two of the multiple offenses were committed as part of one or
more courses of conduct, and the harm caused by two or more of the
multiple offenses so committed was so great or unusual that no single
prison term for any of the offenses committed as part of any of the courses
of conduct adequately reflects the seriousness of the offender’s conduct.
(c) The offender’s history of criminal conduct demonstrates that consecutive
sentences are necessary to protect the public from future crime by the
offender.
{¶ 28} In imposing consecutive sentences, the trial court made the required
statutory findings. The court found, both orally and in its judgment entry, that
consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public or to punish Williams and
that consecutive sentences were not disproportionate to the seriousness of his conduct
and to the danger that he posed to the public. Lastly, the court found that Williams’s
history of criminal conduct demonstrated that consecutive sentences were necessary to
-10-
protect the public from future crime by him.
{¶ 29} On appeal, Williams argues that the trial court erred in relying on his criminal
history alone to support both the finding that consecutive sentences were necessary to
protect the public from future crime and the finding under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(c) that his
history of criminal conduct demonstrated that consecutive sentences were necessary.
He points to State v. Corti, 11th Dist. Lake No. 2016-L-129, 2018-Ohio-903, which
discussed the interplay of those two findings, stating:
Finally, appellant argues that R.C. 2929.14(C) is redundant in that
the need to protect the public from the defendant’s future crimes is
mentioned twice in the statute, first, as one of the two required findings for
consecutive sentences in R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), and, second, as one of the
three alternative findings in R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(c). While there is some
overlap in the statute, these two findings are not identical. Pursuant to R.C.
2929.14(C)(4), the court was required to find consecutive sentencing is
necessary to protect the public from future crime. In contrast, the
alternative finding in R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(c) requires the court to find that the
offender’s criminal history shows that consecutive sentencing is necessary
to protect the public. The language concerning the offender’s criminal
history is not included in R.C. 2929.14(C)(4), while it is included in R.C.
2929.14(C)(4)(c). This distinction shows that R.C. 2929.14(C)(4) can be
demonstrated by something other than the offender’s criminal history.
Corti at ¶ 33. Based on Corti, Williams claims that there must be some evidence other
than a defendant’s criminal history to support the imposition of consecutive sentences
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when relying on R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(c). He states that, because the trial court relied on
his criminal history alone to support its findings, the imposition of consecutive sentences
was contrary to law.
{¶ 30} Here, the record does not indicate that the trial court considered only
Williams’s criminal history in imposing consecutive sentences. The trial court stated at
the sentencing hearing that it had reviewed the PSI, not just Williams’s criminal history,
and it did not detail the bases for its consecutive sentencing findings.
{¶ 31} Moreover, the trial court’s findings were not clearly and convincingly
unsupported by the record. Beginning with the finding under R.C. 2929.14(C)(4)(c),
Williams’s criminal history began in late 2013 with a conviction for being an accessory to
a robbery, for which he received a prison sentence. He completed his probation
supervision for that offense in December 2015. Later, Williams twice was convicted of
having weapons while under disability, including in Warren County where he faced
several gun charges. The record thus shows an ongoing history of gun-related offenses
and two prison sentences within a five-year period. Therefore, we cannot say that the
record clearly and convincingly fails to support the trial court's finding under R.C.
2929.14(C)(4)(c).
{¶ 32} As for the trial court’s finding that consecutive sentences were necessary to
protect the public from future crime, the court reasonably could have considered
Williams’s criminal history, particularly the repeated gun-related offenses, in its analysis.
Assuming for sake of argument that additional information was required, the record also
reflects that Williams had a history of threats and aggression that appeared to be
escalating. Williams was suspended for fighting while in high school. When Williams
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participated in the STOP program while on community control for a prior offense, he was
removed from the program due to threats and “acting violent” toward another resident of
the program. In committing the instant felonious assault, Williams assaulted a friend for
no apparent reason and threatened to kill Boddie “the next time.” When asked for his
version of the incident, Williams responded, “No comment,” and never expressed remorse
for his actions. We cannot conclude that the record clearly and convincingly fails to
support a finding that consecutive sentences were necessary to protect the public from
future crimes and punish the offender.
{¶ 33} Williams does not challenge the trial court’s finding that consecutive
sentences were not disproportionate to the seriousness of the offender’s conduct and to
the danger the offender poses to the public. Regardless, there is support in the record
for this finding as well.
{¶ 34} Williams’s second assignment of error is overruled.

Outcome: The trial court’s judgment will be affirmed.

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