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  Appeals Court Upholds 2016 Conviction Of Man Who Assaulted Two Women At 3948 Sunset Blvd.  
  February 8, 2018 Edition  
     Convicted Attacker Sought Judgement On Claims Of Ineffective Counsel, Insufficient Evidence, ‘Improper Sentencing Criteria’
      The Sept., 2016 conviction on charges of assault and menacing lodged against a 36-year-old man in the beating of two women on Sunset Blvd. had been upheld by the Seventh District Court of Appeals.
      Darrell Brown was convicted of assaulting 27-year-old Krystal Wolfe and her sister Celeste Wolfe following a series of incidents on July 31, 2016 at the home of Brown’s ex-girlfriend, 45-year-old Jeronica Wolfe.
      Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum sentenced Brown to 9-1/2 years in jail, and Brown, through a court-appointed attorney, Michael Kivlighan, appealed the conviction claiming he had ineffective legal counsel, there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction on the charge of menacing, and his incarceration followed improper sentencing criteria.
      A decision rendered last month by Judge Cheryl Waite and concurred by Judge Mary DeGenaro, affirmed the judgement of the common pleas court.
      At trial, Brown was given a court-appointed attorney, Edward Hartwig.
      Hartwig told the trial court that Brown refused to cooperate with him.
      “This lack of communication was caused by [Brown], Judge Waite opined, noting “In some instances, the failure to communicate with counsel is nothing more than ‘stalling’ and playing games with the court.”
      According to court records, while before Judge Krichbaum, Brown sought to replace Atty. Hartwig.
      “He’s manipulating the process of this court...He is one of defiance and rejection of anything and everything, rather than listening. That is what it appears to be,” Judge Krichbaum said, adding “I am not going to grant him some other lawyer that he wouldn’t talk to either.”
      Pointing out that Celeste suffered a broken nose, lost consciousness and had a facial laceration when she was attacked by Brown, Judge Waite said that Brown’s claim of error on the conviction for menacing was meritless.
      Judge Waite, citing Brown’s lengthy criminal record, said his sentencing “was not contrary to law.”
      The judge noted Brown’s criminal record.
      “He has a 1999 juvenile adjudication for aggravated robbery, a 2000 attempted drug abuseconviction, a 2003 carrying a concealed weapon conviction, a 2006 misdemeanor obstructing conviction, a 2007 misdemeanor assault conviction, a 2008 felony for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle conviction, a 2013 weapons under disability conviction, and a 2016 fleeing and eluding conviction.
      “The (trial) court also indicated [Brown] is a convicted felon and was not permitted to have a firearm on his person. However, in committing the crime of menacing by stalking he used a gun; [Brown] admitted he had a gun and waved it in the street. The court further noted [Brown] has previously served time in the penitentiary but continues to commit crimes. Thus, the...finding is supported by the record and was not contrary to law,” Judge Waite said.
      On July 31, 2016, Boardman Police Department records show that Brown went to 3948 Sunset Blvd. twice. His first visit around 12:30 a.m., when Brown and Jeronica Wolfe were arguing over the use of a car and Celeste entered the room and told Brown to leave.
      While she was coming down a stairway, the record of the court shows that Brown “attacked” Celeste and then ran out of the house with the keys to her car.
      “[Brown] admitted to hitting Celeste four to eight times, but claims Celeste swung at him first.
      “The altercation resulted in Celeste sustaining injuries, she lost consciousness, her nose was broken, she had a facial laceration,” the court said.
      During the fight, the Boardman Police Department received an open-ended 9-1-1 call, where screaming and fighting was overheard in the background,.
      However, when police arrived at the residence on Sunset Blvd. the front door was found ajar and no one was home.
      Jeronica and Celeste later said they had ‘gone looking’ for Brown following the fight.
      About 8:30 that morning, the Boardman Police Department returned to the residence where they were told Jeronica’s other adult daughter, Krystal, was sleeping on the floor of the living room when she was awakened by Brown who was at a window saying, “Yo-yo-yo.”
      Jeronica and Krystal testified they called the police, while Brown used a key and tried to push his way into the home.
      A fight ensued between Brown and Krystal Wolfe that spilled out into the driveway and backyard.
      Krystal Wolfe told police she was punched in the face and she grabbed a ceramic pot and attempted to hit Brown, but missed and the pot fell onto the driveway, breaking into several pieces.
      “Krystal said that Brown grabbed one of the larger pieces and began swinging it back and forth in an attempt to cut her,” Ptl. Stephen Dubos reported, saying the Krystal had a cut below her right eye and her hands were cut.
      “[Brown admitted to hitting and kicking Krystal in the face during the altercation,” Judge Waite said, citing the record of the trial court.
      When the police arrived at the home, Brown had already fled. A short time later he was found by police when he exited a vacant home at 325 Hilton Ave., Youngstown, Oh, with his hands up.
      Brown’s initial court appearance was before Boardman Court Judge Joseph Houser, who gave Brown five days in jail for contempt of court “for statements he made to the court while walking away from the bench.”
      At trial, Judge Krichbaum admonished Brown for his behavior at Boardman Court.
      “When we’re in trial and I have a jury sitting here, any type of misconduct by you are any time, you blurting something out, you laughing, you shaking your head, you disagreeing, you showing anything but sitting her like a perfect gentleman is going to result in a contempt of court charge. So I want you to be aware of that. I’m not somebody to mess around with,” Judge Krichbaum said, noting the only reason for the admonition was because of Brown’s misconduct before Judge Houser.
      In affirming the Common Pleas court decision, Judge Waite said “the undisputed facts of this case are [Brown] punched Celeste multiple times, breaking her nose, lacerating her face and causing her to lose consciousness, [Brown] left the house and when Celeste and Jeronica found him a little while later, [Brown] waved a gun at them in the middle of Judson (a street on the south side of Youngstown) and told them he would kill them,” Judge Waite said, concluding “The conviction is affirmed.”
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