Appeal filed over man’s conviction in connection with Paige Johnson’s disappearance
CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - An appeal has been filed on behalf of a man who was found guilty of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence in connection with the 2010 disappearance of Paige Johnson.
Documents filed in Clermont County Common Pleas Court Monday list why the defense believes that Jacob Bumpass should be acquitted on both counts or receive a new trial on both counts.
The motion by the defense alleges misconduct during the trial testimony of Paige Johnson’s mother, Donna Johnson, and former Covington Police Detective Bryan Frodge.
Bumpass’ attorneys state in the court documents that Donna Johnson had “repeated emotional outbursts during her testimony, in particular calling for Mr. Bumpass to accept three to four years of imprisonment and enter an admission of guilt.”
“I don’t know why someone would wait this long instead of just saying, ‘I don’t want to drag you through all this for three years. I’ll just take my little four years. You can just take your baby home and have a funeral,’ like why?” is the quote from Donna Johnson that is referenced in the appeal.
“The court should have granted Mr. Bumpass’s oral motion for mistrial made immediately following the outburst of emotion by Ms. Johnson during her testimony,” the appeal documents say. “It is submitted the outburst deprived Mr. Bumpass of a fair trial by this outburst improperly influencing the jury.”
In addition, Bumpass’ attorneys allege in the motion that former Covington Police Detective Bryan Frodge was not telling the truth when he took the stand and stated in court that Bumpass ran from his home in late Sept. or early Oct. 2010 to avoid contact with police.
“...Mr. Bumpass did not deliberately avoid contact with law enforcement from September 2010 until his arrest in the late Spring of 2020″, the motion says.
Some of the most critical evidence presented in Bumpass’s trial was in regard to the hours before Paige Johnson’s disappearance.
Prosecutors said in court that Bumpass’ claims of dropping Johnson off in Covington are likely not true because they claim his phone pinged in Clermont County at the time he claims he dropped Paige off.
The defense said phone records from 2010 are not as accurate as they are today because there is no precise GPS location.
Witness testimony stated that Bumpass told Donna Johnson his phone erases everything its records every 24 hours, and soon after Paige’s disappearance, he went out and got a new phone number.
Bumpass’s motion says that any incident that may have occurred at Bumpass’ house during Paige’s disappearance should not be admitted in court “due to its lack of probative value and the potential for unfair prejudice and misleading information,” the motion reads.
The motion asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support the verdicts and “Failure of the court to give in its entirety Mr. Bumpass’s proposed jury instruction that it is impermissible under Ohio law to build a conviction solely on stacking inferences.”
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