A former Kentucky State University student who pulled a handgun in a crowded KSU student center has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to several charges and released to his mother’s custody.
Christopher Sims, 25, pleaded guilty but mentally ill Friday before Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate to unlawful possession of a weapon on school property among several other charges stemming from the incident.
Sims threatened to kill everyone in KSU’s student center cafeteria March 2, 2010, but his 9mm Hi-Point handgun jammed, according to court records of the incident. He ran to a bathroom, cleared the jam and ran to a nearby computer lab.
Frankfort Police, with rifles drawn, arrested Sims in the lab and found the handgun with a bullet in the chamber and a loaded magazine. Officers also found two 9mm rounds and a Percocet pill during a search at Franklin County Regional Jail.
Sims’ mother, Sandra Wilson, told The State Journal in an interview last year that her son suffered from depression and was traumatized after he was a victim of violence. Sims’ girlfriend broke up with him the day of the incident at the KSU student center, Wilson said.
Dennis Shepherd, Sims’ court-appointed attorney, said the guilty but mentally ill plea came after the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center evaluated Sims three times.
“He (Sims) was subjected to a KCPC evaluation ... and based on that evaluation, I believe this is the appropriate plea,” Shepherd said.
Sims read from a hand-written note after he pleaded guilty and apologized for brandishing a gun on KSU’s campus.
“I want to apologize for my actions caused by excessive stress from three prior Civil Rights criminal cases, which I can’t discuss at this time,” Sims said.
Sims added that he hoped to earn a degree and pursue a career as a DJ.
Sims had also been charged with promoting contraband, wanton endangerment, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and disorderly conduct,
Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland recommends three years in prison but won’t oppose probation if Sims doesn’t need additional in-patient treatment, according to the plea agreement. It says Sims must get a mental health evaluation before sentencing.
Conditions of Sims’ probation, if granted, will include taking prescribed medication, seeing a specialist and living with his mother, Wingate said.
Wingate scheduled Sims’ sentencing for Aug. 12 and released him to the custody of his mother, who now lives in Mississippi.