A new jury trial date has been set for a Toledo man accused of the theft of numerous trailers across the area.
Kevin Baldwin, 56, who successfully appealed his prior conviction, appeared Friday in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Joel Kuhlman.
The 6th District Court of Appeals in January reversed Baldwin’s eight-year prison sentence, which was imposed after he was found guilty of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and three counts of receiving stolen property.
Retired Judge Alan Mayberry had set the sentence after the trial, which ended July 20, 2018.
Baldwin had unsuccessfully appealed the sentence on July 25, 2018, claiming the state had failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the conviction. He appealed again May 26, 2020.
According to appeals court documents, when the state asked a witness if he had received threats before the trial, Baldwin’s counsel objected, moved for a mistrial and requested a sidebar. The judge overruled the objection and denied the motion.
It was Baldwin’s brother who made the threats and the appeals court decreed there was no indication that Baldwin was involved in the threats and thus there was no legitimate purpose to offer evidence of those threats. The testimony caused unfair prejudice, it was ruled.
Reversal is required because the state failed to prove that the error in admitting the evidence did not affect Baldwin’s substantial rights.
Over the course of nearly four years, Baldwin and two co-defendants, Barbara and William Gentry, both of Woodville, were accused of stealing and/or selling approximately 45 different trailers across various jurisdictions.
Baldwin would acquire the trailers then contact Gentry to let him know he had them available and how much he wanted for them.
The cases in which Baldwin was found guilty included:
• On July 8, 2016, a white Haulin trailer valued at $4,000 was stolen in Walbridge. The contents included a 1973 Honda motorcycle.
• On July 11, 2016, a homemade 16-foot-long 2-axle trailer with a value of $2,500 was stolen in Walbridge.
• On Aug. 19, 2016, a white 2016 28-foot trailer with a value of $10,000 was stolen in Perrysburg. Inside the trailer was a 2016 snowmobile with a value of $13,000.
During the course of the investigation it was determined there were a total of 45 trailers stolen in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan between Nov. 23, 2013 and June 2017.
Baldwin’s attorney, in the closing remarks for the jury, admitted that Baldwin had sold the trailers and knew they were stolen. However, there was no proof that his client stole them.
Mayberry sentenced Baldwin to the maximum of eight years for the corrupt activity charge, 12 months each on the two fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property counts and 18 months on the third-degree felony count of receiving stolen property. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.
The total estimated loss of the trailers alone was $198,842 and the total loss of the trailers with non-recovered contents was $433,647.
Wood County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Anderson said Friday that Baldwin has rejected the offer from the state to plead guilty to a second-degree felony of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. He also rejected an offer to plead guilty to an aggravated theft charge and money laundering, both third-degree felonies.
The plea included a four-year prison sentence.
Since the defendant already has served a period of time in prison, he would be given credit for time served, Anderson said.
“I can’t say they’re being unreasonable,” said defense attorney Donald Gallick about the offer.
But his client has spent 32 months in prison and the four years is a sticking point for him, he said.
Baldwin was discharged from jail on Feb. 2 and would have to serve approximately 16 months if he took the plea.
“The prosecutor is not interested in moving off those four years, so we’re at an impasse,” Gallick said.
Baldwin’s new trial has been scheduled to start June 7.
Kuhlman approved the state’s request to use the trial transcript if previous witnesses cannot be reached.