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State v. Small

Court of Appeals of Ohio
2007 Ohio 6771


On February 8, 2005, Robel Medhin was found dead of a gunshot to the mouth. Dean D. Small (defendant) was charged with his murder. The prosecution contended that Small murdered Medhin because Medhin owed Small money. Medhin’s friend, Tesfalem Ellos, testified that Medhin told him he was afraid for his life because he owed someone money. On the night of the murder, Medhin made a call  on Ellos’ phone and told the person he did not have the money. After Medhin’s death, Ellos retried the number and called it. The person who answered had a Jamaican accent and called himself Dominique. Small’s wife testified that Small was often called Dominique. Ellos and Dominique discussed how Ellos might repay Medhin’s debt. At trial, the prosecution introduced the testimony from Ellos regarding the phone call as admissible under the hearsay rule as a party admission. Small was convicted of murder and appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Bryant, J.)

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