Judge reduces bond for alleged Chelsea gunman

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

A circuit court judge reduced bond for a Chelsea man charged with five counts of kidnapping and one charge of terrorist threats after allegedly holding five girls at gunpoint at Chelsea Middle School in February.

Judge Dan Reeves reduced bond for Ryan Matthew Sims, 21, to $100,000 per kidnapping charge during a May 8 hearing. The bond was originally set at $1 million per charge. Reeves did not change the $15,000 bond for the terrorist threat charge.

Wendall Sheffield and John Letine argued that the bond was 16 times more than the maximum under the state’s bond schedule for a non-felony, which they said was unconstitutional. They originally asked for the bond be reduced to $50,000-$60,000 per kidnapping charge.

Reeves said the court has discretion to set the bond higher than the bond schedule.

“However, that does not allow the court to set a bond that is the functional equivalent of no bond,” he said.

Sheffield said Sims was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

“This diagnosis was made for the first time when he was in jail,” Sheffield said.

Letine said the onset of the disease was triggered by “extenuating circumstances that occurred in his life prior to this event that we will show later in the appropriate setting.”

Sheffield said Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Center diagnosed Sims when he entered the jail. He said the defense did not pay for the evaluation.

Sheffield also said the defense considers Sims “not guilty of the charges that were brought against him.” He said the next hearing will be in a couple of months.