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Date: 06-18-2021

Case Style:


Case Number: 20CA0029-M

Judge: Lynne S. Callahan


Plaintiff's Attorney: S. FORREST THOMPSON, Proseuting Attorney, and VINCENT V. VIGLUICCI, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney

Defendant's Attorney:

Akron, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory


Akron, Ohio - Criminal defense attorney represented Tyrell Dumas with a aggravated robbery charge.

} On the evening of May 8, 2019, N.J. drove his friend J.H. from his home in Spencer,
Ohio to a nearby town to purchase marijuana, which J.H. planned to resell to a contact made by
another acquaintance, D.S. When N.J. and J.H. returned to J.H.’s residence, a car was waiting in
the driveway. D.S. and another individual—previously unknown to them—exited the vehicle.
J.H. attempted to enter his residence through a man door in the garage, but when he realized that
he did not have a key and the door was locked, he kicked in the door, damaging the frame. The
four men entered the kitchen area of the residence, where the unknown individual was introduced
as “Lee.” Moments later, “Lee” drew a firearm and demanded the marijuana from J.H. As “Lee”
pointed the gun at J.H., N.J. attempted to intercept him. “Lee” struck N.J.’s head with the firearm, 2

then left the residence, carrying a bag that belonged to J.H. He returned moments later to retrieve
his cellular phone, then rode away in the waiting vehicle. D.S., who was previously acquainted
with J.H., stayed behind and attempted to render aid to N.J. He ultimately used J.H.’s cellular
phone to call his own device, which had been left in the car they arrived in. When the vehicle
returned, D.S. left as well.
{¶3} J.H., a minor at the time of the incident, contacted his mother, who returned home
from work and called 911. Over the next few days, N.J. and J.H. received information from other
individuals that identified “Lee” as Mr. Dumas. Although N.J. initially identified the assailant to
police as “Lee,” he then, on his own initiative, retrieved photographs from Mr. Dumas’ Instagram
account, identified him as his assailant, and provided Mr. Dumas’ name and Instagram account ID
to the officer investigating the incident. The officer in turn showed the photographs to J.H., who
also identified Mr. Dumas as the individual introduced as “Lee.”
{¶4} Mr. Dumas was charged with aggravated robbery in violation of R.C 2911.01(A)(1)
and an accompanying firearm specification. A jury found him guilty of aggravated robbery but
not guilty of the firearm specification, and the trial court sentenced him to an indefinite term of
seven to ten and one-half years in prison. Mr. Dumas appealed.

{¶5} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Dumas has argued that the evidence at trial was
insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated robbery because it did not demonstrate that
he was the individual who committed the offense.1
This Court does not agree.
{¶6} “Whether a conviction is supported by sufficient evidence is a question of law that
this Court reviews de novo.” State v. Williams, 9th Dist. Summit No. 24731, 2009–Ohio–6955, ¶
18, citing State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997). The relevant inquiry is whether the
prosecution has met its burden of production by presenting sufficient evidence to sustain a
conviction. Thompkins at 390 (Cook, J., concurring). For purposes of a sufficiency analysis, this
Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the State. Jackson v. Virginia, 443
U.S. 307, 319 (1979). We do not evaluate credibility, and we make all reasonable inferences in
favor of the State. State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 273 (1991). The evidence is sufficient if it
allows the trier of fact to reasonably conclude that the essential elements of the crime were proven
beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.
{¶7} Mr. Dumas’ sufficiency argument is limited to the adequacy of the evidence
demonstrating that he is the individual who committed the offense at issue. The identity of a
perpetrator must be proved by the State beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Flynn, 9th Dist.
Medina No. 06CA0096-M, 2007-Ohio-6210, ¶ 12. As with any element of an offense, identity
may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence, which do not differ with respect to probative
value. Id. See also State v. Treesh, 90 Ohio St.3d 460, 485 (2001), citing Jenks at paragraph one
of the syllabus.
Although Mr. Dumas refers to the appropriate legal standards for analyzing the
sufficiency and weight of the evidence, his arguments in support of his first and second
assignments of error are virtually identical. 4

{¶8} N.J., who accompanied J.H. on the evening of the incident, testified that two black
males followed them into the residence. He identified one as D.S., but he did not know the identity
of the other at the time. According to N.J.’s testimony, the men gathered around the kitchen table
in J.H.’s home, and J.H. placed his bag and the marijuana on the table. N.J. was uncertain whether
the marijuana remained in the bag. N.J. testified that he did not notice that the unknown man
carried a firearm until it was pointed toward J.H. He recalled that he grabbed the bag and tried to
leave, but the man turned, struck him with the firearm, and retrieved the bag before leaving the
house. N.J. testified that after the incident, other individuals provided him with Mr. Dumas’ name,
which led him to access Mr. Dumas’ Instagram page. According to N.J., the photographs that he
saw were consistent with the appearance of the gunman. N.J. provided one of the photographs to
the police.
{¶9} J.H. testified that he was contacted by a friend, D.S., with a request that he sell
marijuana to another individual on the evening in question. J.H. insisted that D.S. accompany the
individual to his residence. J.H. noted that the individual wore a gun on his hip in his waistband.
Once inside, according to J.H., the man introduced himself as “Lee Coleman.” He testified that
the individual raised the gun toward his throat and demanded, “‘Give me all that shit[.]’” J.H.
testified that he did not know the man but emphasized that he looked directly at his face during the
confrontation. J.H. recalled the struggle between N.J. and the gunman, and he testified that the
individual left without his cellular phone then returned for it, saying, “‘I’ll shoot this bitch up.’”
{¶10} After J.H. initially spoke with police, he asked mutual friends of D.S. whether they
could help him identify the gunman. By the second time that he was interviewed, however, the
police had acquired an Instagram photograph of Mr. Dumas from N.J. J.H. testified that the
photograph of Mr. Dumas was “clearly” the gunman and reiterated that he had been “staring right 5

at him.” He testified that although Mr. Dumas’ appearance was somewhat different at trial, he was
certain that Mr. Dumas was the gunman.
{¶11} D.S. testified that he was an acquaintance of both J.H. and Mr. Dumas. According
to D.S.’s testimony, he spent the afternoon of May 8, 2019, at the home of Mr. Dumas’ cousin
smoking marijuana. At some point during the afternoon, Mr. Dumas arrived and asked D.S.
whether he knew anyone who could provide him with marijuana. D.S. testified that he contacted
J.H., then connected him with Mr. Dumas through Snapchat. He recalled that the two made
arrangements for the transaction, but J.H. insisted that he accompany Mr. Dumas. D.S. testified
that a third individual drove him and Mr. Dumas to J.H.’s residence, where he, Mr. Dumas, J.H.,
and N.J. socialized briefly. D.S. noted that Mr. Dumas introduced himself as “Lee” and explained
that he went along with the deception. According to D.S., he heard a gun cock, and Mr. Dumas
demanded the marijuana. D.S. also described the altercation between Mr. Dumas and N.J. He
testified that after Mr. Dumas left, he borrowed a cellular phone to call his own phone, which he
had left in the car.
{¶12} During his testimony, D.S. denied that he knew anyone named “Lee Coleman,” and
he also testified that he did not know the name of the individual who drove him and Mr. Dumas to
J.H.’s home. During his redirect examination, however, D.S. testified that the driver, who
remained in the vehicle during the incident, was an individual with a name similar to “Lee
Coleman.” That individual, L.C., later testified.
{¶13} L.C. testified that around the time of the incident, he sometimes provided Mr.
Dumas with rides because he owned a car. L.C. recalled the date in question, and he testified that
on that occasion, he provided a ride to D.S. and Mr. Dumas. He testified that he was not sure
where they went, but that one of those individuals provided him with driving directions. When 6

they arrived, D.S. and Mr. Dumas went in the house to purchase marijuana, but L.C. stayed behind
in the car. L.C. testified that Mr. Dumas returned by himself and they drove away. He recalled
that as they drove, a cellular phone in the car rang. L.C. answered the call, spoke with D.S., then
returned to J.H.’s residence to pick him up.
{¶14} Mr. Dumas’ argument in support of his first assignment of error directs this Court’s
attention to inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony, the witnesses’ motivations to testify
against Mr. Dumas, and purported inadequacies in the police investigation that culminated in Mr.
Dumas’ arrest. Each of these arguments, however, goes to the weight rather than the sufficiency
of the evidence. See Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d at 273. This Court must, instead, view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the State. See Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319. Viewed from this perspective,
the jury could reasonably conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Dumas was the perpetrator.
See Jenks at 273.
{¶15} Mr. Dumas’ first assignment of error is overruled.
{¶16} Mr. Dumas’ second assignment of error is that his conviction for aggravated
robbery is against the manifest weight of the evidence because the evidence at trial did not
demonstrate that he committed the crime. This Court does not agree.
{¶17} When considering whether a conviction is against the manifest weight of the
evidence, this Court must:
review 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 trier of fact clearly lost its way and created such a manifest
miscarriage of justice that the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered. 7

State v. Otten, 33 Ohio App.3d 339, 340 (9th Dist.1986). A reversal on this basis is reserved for
the exceptional case in which the evidence weighs heavily against the conviction. Id., citing State
v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175 (1st Dist.1983). As with other elements of a crime, “the
credibility of witnesses and their degree of certainty in identifying the defendant are matters
affecting the weight of the evidence.” Flynn, 2007-Ohio-6210, at ¶ 12, citing State v. Gorgan, 9th
Dist. Medina No. 1824, 1990 WL 1771, *1 (Jan. 10, 1990).
{¶18} N.J. testified that he provided J.H. with a ride on the date in question so that J.H.
could obtain marijuana to sell to a third party, but he acknowledged that he kept this information
from police when he was interviewed because he did not want to be implicated in a drug offense.
N.J. acknowledged that he told police that the gunman was not wearing glasses, and he
contradicted that statement during his testimony. He also agreed that he told police that the
gunman had “a Bob Marley look to him[,]” but clarified that he “never said that he had long dreads
down past his shoulders.” N.J. testified that the gunman had piercings in at least one ear that he
previously described as “gauges.” He also recalled that the assailant’s only distinctive clothing
was a beanie-type hat that was red, white, and yellow. During trial, N.J. identified Mr. Dumas as
the gunman but acknowledged that his appearance had changed significantly: on the date of trial,
his hair was shorter, he wore glasses, and he did not have any indications of scarring on his ears
consistent with wearing gauges. N.J. also testified that he might have previously told the police
that he heard D.S. use the name “Lee” during the incident but explained that “Lee” was “just a
name [he] remember[ed] hearing.” Nevertheless, N.J. also testified that he obtained pictures from
Mr. Dumas’ Instagram account shortly after the incident that were taken when his appearance was
unchanged. He clarified that his attention was focused primarily on the gun during the incident,
which took place during a matter of minutes. 8

{¶19} Like N.J., J.H. acknowledged that the purpose of the meeting on May 8th was a
drug transaction between him and a friend of D.S. whom he had not previously met. He also
admitted that he and N.J. had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. J.H. testified that when D.S.
set up the drug transaction, he provided J.H. with the Snapchat ID of an individual named “Lee.”
He also explained that the Snapchat appeared to represent an account that had only recently been
created. According to J.H., the man introduced himself in person as “Lee Coleman,” and, after the
incident, D.S. provided him with a description of where “Lee Coleman” lived.
{¶20} J.H. testified that he noticed the gun in the man’s waistband before they entered the
house but did not suspect trouble because of his relationship with D.S. J.H. recalled that he looked
the gunman in the face from a close proximity. He recalled that the gunman had a red bandana
tied around his head and that his hair was styled in short twists. According to J.H., the gunman
did not have gauges in his ears, but did wear diamond earrings. He testified that the gunman wore
glasses during the incident. Like N.J., J.H. contacted other acquaintances after the incident to
inquire about the identity of the individual who accompanied D.S. When those acquaintances
suggested Mr. Dumas, J.H. found a photograph of him on social media and noted that “it was
clearly him.” J.H. testified that police showed him a picture of Mr. Dumas when he was
interviewed, but that he had already obtained it on his own by that time. Although he noted that
Mr. Dumas’ hair and glasses were different at trial, J.H. testified that he “ha[d] no doubt about”
identifying Mr. Dumas as the gunman.
{¶21} D.S., who was a friend of both J.H. and Mr. Dumas, facilitated the drug transaction
between the two and accompanied Mr. Dumas to J.H.’s home. As he explained during his crossexamination, “your client [Mr. Dumas] needed some weed. He wanted to know if I had some. *
* * I told him yeah. I hit up [J.H.].” D.S. acknowledged that he was present during the incident 9

but lied to the police because he did not want to be implicated. D.S. also acknowledged that he
had been charged in connection with the incident and that he was testifying as a result of a plea
agreement that required him to do so truthfully. D.S. testified that he spent the afternoon of May
8, 2019, at the home of Mr. Dumas’ cousin, where he and a group of acquaintances smoked
marijuana. When Mr. Dumas arrived, he asked D.S. if he knew anyone who could provide him
with marijuana. D.S. testified that he connected Mr. Dumas with J.H. through Snapchat and that
J.H. insisted that D.S. accompany Mr. Dumas during the transaction.
{¶22} During his direct examination, D.S. testified that a third individual drove him and
Mr. Dumas to J.H.’s house but remained in the car during the incident. He also testified that he
did not remember the driver’s name. D.S. recalled that Mr. Dumas introduced himself to J.H. as
“Lee,” and he admitted that he did not correct that misrepresentation. D.S. testified that he
provided the investigators with the name “Lee” because he “wanted to just go home. * * * I was
ready to go.” He also testified, however, that he eventually identified Mr. Dumas to J.H. after the
incident. D.S. recalled that Mr. Dumas had somewhat longer hair at the time and that he was
certain it was styled in short dreadlocks. He denied that Mr. Dumas wore gauges in his ears but
recalled that he did have earrings.
{¶23} During direct and cross-examination, D.S. testified that to the best of his
knowledge, there was no individual named “Lee Coleman.” He also denied previous statements
to the police to the effect that the driver of the car was named “Lee” and that they left in “Lee’s”
car. During his redirect examination, however, D.S. changed his testimony. At that point, D.S.
testified that the driver of the car was L.C., an individual whose name is phonetically similar to
“Lee Coleman.” D.S. emphasized that L.C. merely provided a ride to J.H.’s house and had nothing
to do with the incident. He acknowledged that his testimony on this point had been false, explained 10

that he had concealed L.C.’s identity to protect him, and reasoned that his testimony was not
entirely dishonest because none of the questions he had been asked referred to L.C. by name. D.S.
testified that he had attended school with L.C. when they were younger, but he stated that he had
never seen L.C. and Mr. Dumas together. He also described L.C. as “a bigger guy” who was not
muscular, and he explained that L.C. wore his hair short in a wave style.
{¶24} After D.S. testified, the State located L.C. and subpoenaed him to appear the
following day. L.C. testified that he and Mr. Dumas have mutual friends, and he explained that
they met through Mr. Dumas’ cousin. He stated that he knows D.S. well and that they attended
the same school in the past. L.C. explained that he was one of the only individuals in his previous
circle of acquaintances who had a driver’s license and a vehicle, so he frequently provided rides
to others. Mr. Dumas was one person to whom he provided transportation. L.C. testified that he
drove Mr. Dumas to his girlfriend’s residence at times and that, on a few occasions, he drove Mr.
Dumas somewhere to purchase marijuana. L.C. also explained, however, that he had on a previous
occasion refused to give Mr. Dumas a ride because he suspected that Mr. Dumas was going to
engage in other criminal activity.
{¶25} L.C. recalled that he gave D.S. and Mr. Dumas a ride to get some marijuana around
the date of the incident. He did not remember the date, but he did remember that it was warm
outside. L.C. testified that he did not know where they were going; either Mr. Dumas or D.S. gave
him directions. When they arrived, L.C. stayed in the car while Mr. Dumas and D.S. went inside.
He recalled that Mr. Dumas returned to the car, but D.S. did not. L.C. testified that he believed he
asked about D.S. and that Mr. Dumas explained that he was staying behind because the house
belonged to a friend. L.C. testified that as they drove back in the direction they had come, a cellular
phone rang in the car. He recalled that he located and answered the phone, which belonged to 11

D.S., then drove back to the residence to pick D.S. up. L.C. emphasized that he never learned
what happened inside the house, but he explained that he was aware that something must have
happened: “The energy was off. It was a whole different atmosphere on the way back. * * * Sort
of the vibe. Just the vibe in the car, it wasn’t the same. It felt like a lot of tension.”
{¶26} L.C. identified Mr. Dumas in court and explained that at the time of the incident,
his hair was longer and styled in twists. He did not recall if Mr. Dumas wore anything on his head
that evening, wore glasses, or wore earrings. He had, however, seen Mr. Dumas wearing diamond
earrings in the past. L.C. testified that, to the best of his knowledge, Mr. Dumas never wore gauges
in his ears; he also explained that he himself did not do so. L.C. testified that his own hair was
styled in a wave, which had been his hairstyle since eighth grade. L.C. also testified that he is five
feet, nine inches tall and weighs approximately 312 pounds.
{¶27} L.C. testified that he had not been previously contacted by investigators regarding
the incident and that he had been subpoenaed only the day before. He explained that he does
sometimes go by the nickname “Lee,” but he testified that he had not been aware that his name
had been given to police previously. L.C. also testified that he had limited contact with the
individuals involved since the incident because he had determined to give up marijuana and change
his lifestyle. To that end, L.C. testified, he had cut off contact with his previous acquaintances,
gotten rid of his cellular phone, obtained full-time employment, and engaged in volunteer activities
through his church.
{¶28} Mr. Dumas’ girlfriend, A.W., testified on his behalf. A.W. explained that around
the date of the incident, Mr. Dumas wore his hair longer, styled in “little tiny curls,” and had
diamond earrings. A.W. testified that she remembered May 8, 2019, distinctly because she
experienced a death in the family on that date. She explained that she spent the entire day with 12

Mr. Dumas, who helped her to care for her aged grandmother. During her direct examination, she
testified that Mr. Dumas had not contacted her about the case, nor had he made any attempt to
influence her. On cross-examination, however, A.W. admitted that her testimony on those points
was false: she acknowledged that Mr. Dumas had contacted her by telephone on several occasions
to discuss the case and that information about other witnesses’ testimony had been relayed to her
through an individual in the gallery. A.W. testified that her memory about those recent
conversations was poor, yet she insisted that she could remember specific details related to the
date of the incident.
{¶29} Sergeant Douglas Meredith of the Spencer Police Department responded to J.H.’s
residence after the incident along with several Medina County Sheriff deputies. He testified that
the kitchen had adequate lighting and he had no difficulty seeing the room. According to Sergeant
Meredith, there was little evidence to be seen and none to collect from the crime scene. Based on
the statements provided to him, he determined that it would not be fruitful to collect trace evidence.
{¶30} Sergeant Meredith testified that both N.J. and D.S. provided the name “Lee
Coleman.” He explained that he attempted to identify that individual through OLEG but did not
meet with success. Within about an hour of his initial interview, however, he testified that N.J.
contacted him and provided Mr. Dumas’ name and Instagram ID. Sergeant Meredith obtained a
photograph of Mr. Dumas using that information. He explained that N.J. was certain that the
individual in the photograph was the gunman. When he interviewed J.H. in June, J.H. also
provided Mr. Dumas’ name and confirmed that the photograph depicted Mr. Dumas. Sergeant
Meredith no longer had access to that photograph when he testified, but he recalled that it depicted
Mr. Dumas with a different hair style, glasses, and larger earrings that Sergeant Meredith did not
characterize as gauges. Sergeant Meredith explained that he did not conduct a photo array with 13

the witnesses because Mr. Dumas’ identity had been provided by them and, under those
circumstances, a photo array would not have made sense.
{¶31} Mr. Dumas argues that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence
because the evidence that identified him as the gunman is untrustworthy. Specifically, he argues
that the witnesses’ testimony was riddled with inconsistency and, at times, obviously false. In that
respect, he notes that D.S., who was charged with the same crime, had a strong motive to provide
false testimony. Mr. Dumas correctly points out that the testimony of N.J., J.H., and D.S. was
inconsistent at various points. N.J., for example, testified that Mr. Dumas may have worn gauges
in his ears on the night of the incident. The other witnesses disagreed. Notably, however, they all
agreed that Mr. Dumas may have been wearing earrings, and some agreed in their testimony that
they may have had the appearance of diamond earrings. The witnesses differed in their recollection
of whether Mr. Dumas wore glasses. A.W., although testifying in Mr. Dumas’ defense, confirmed
that Mr. Dumas wore glasses and frequently wore diamond earrings around that time. Similarly,
Mr. Dumas points to N.J.’s description of Mr. Dumas’ hairstyle as an inconsistency. His testimony
on that point, however, appears to reflect a difference in word choice rather than substance: other
witnesses confirmed that around the time of the incident, Mr. Dumas wore his hair in short twists
that were consistent with N.J.’s testimony. Undoubtedly, the eyewitnesses to the incident had
motives to conceal their own involvement and, in fact, had provided dishonest statements to the
police on previous occasions. Nonetheless, the details of their testimony with respect to the
identification of Mr. Dumas corresponded. The testimony of L.C., who had no involvement in the
investigation prior to his last-minute subpoena, confirmed many of the details that others provided.
{¶32} With respect to the testimony of Sergeant Meredith, Mr. Dumas maintains that the
investigation of the crime scene was insufficient. Sergeant Meredith testified, however, that his 14

investigation was appropriate for the nature of the crime scene and explained that the collection of
trace evidence would not have been his practice under the circumstances. James Cartwright, an
investigator from the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office who assisted with the investigation,
agreed with Sergeant Meredith’s assessment.
{¶33} Given the testimony at trial, we cannot conclude that this is the exceptional case in
which the evidence weighs heavily against the conviction. See Otten, 33 Ohio App.3d at 340,
citing Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d at 175. Mr. Dumas’ second assignment of error is overruled.

Outcome: Mr. Dumas’ assignments of error are overruled. The judgment of the Medina
County Court of Common Pleas is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

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