November 26, 2014

Medina
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Conviction upheld for man who made phone threats to Iowa police dispatchers

A 58-year-old Wadsworth man will remain in prison following an appellate court upholding his Medina County conviction last year for making phone threats to police dispatchers in Iowa.

Dennis W. Eisele was sentenced May 6 to two years in prison on a count of intimidation, a third-degree felony. He also was convicted of aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment, first-degree misdemeanors.

A jury found Eisele guilty in late April.

Dennis Eisele

Dennis Eisele

Eisele made several 911 calls to the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in the early morning of Dec. 31, 2011, according to court records. Police discovered Eisele used a “spoofed” phone number, meaning it was faked to have an Iowa area code.

Prosecutors said Eisele told a male dispatcher he would shoot him in the head, have sex with his wife and kill a police officer. In another call, he made “graphic and sexual” comments to a female dispatcher.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, he was charged with intimidation because the comments were made to dispatchers, who were public servants on duty.

Conrad G. Olson, Eisele’s attorney, argued his client’s conviction was improper because county Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier allowed testimony about Eisele’s criminal history of making threatening phone calls.

The 9th District Court of Appeals disagreed.

“It is apparent from this court’s review that the state’s purpose in introducing such evidence was not to attack Mr. Eisele’s credibility,” the judges wrote, “but rather to demonstrate that he had acted in conformity with prior acts involving similar conduct and was, therefore, likely to have committed the offenses alleged in the present case.”

According to prosecutors, Eisele was convicted of making bomb threats to a Burger King restaurant. He was in prison for that conviction, which came out of Stark County, at the time of his Medina County trial.

Eisele’s attorney also argued testimony at trial was not adequate to warrant a criminal conviction.

The appellate judges denied the argument because Eisele’s calls tied up emergency phone lines, “which rendered (the dispatchers) unable to assist other calls who may have had urgent and appropriate requests for assistance.”

The judges said jurors had plenty of evidence to convict Eisele.

“There was ample, credible evidence from which the jury could determine that his conduct constituted an ‘unlawful threat of harm’ that was an attempt to ‘intimidate or hinder a public servant,’ ” the judges wrote.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.