Alleged Chelsea gunman pleads not guilty


COLUMBIANA – A 22-year-old man accused of holding five Chelsea Middle School students hostage in February pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect Oct. 2.

Ryan Matthew Sims was scheduled to appear before Judge Dan Reeves Oct. 2 for an arraignment hearing, but the hearing was waived after Sims’ attorneys filed a waiver of arraignment and a plea of not guilty the same day.

Sims pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, according to court documents.

Sims has been charged with five counts of kidnapping and one count of making terrorist threats. He is currently in the Shelby County Jail, where he has been since Aug. 14 after violating his bond agreement.

No further court dates have been set at this time.

According to a release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Sims entered Chelsea Middle School about 3 p.m. Feb. 12. He was allegedly holding five female students against their will in the girls locker room, where he was confronted by a deputy assigned to the school for security purposes and the principal. The deputy and principal talked Sims into releasing the students and then surrendering himself, according to the release.

During a May 8 hearing, Sims’ attorneys said he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and he was held in the Shelby County Jail until he posted bond June 6.

A motion asking for Sims’ bond to be revoked was filed Aug. 14 after sheriff’s deputies found live .22-caliber rounds in his bedroom, which allegedly violated his bond agreement. After a bond hearing Aug. 20, Judge Dan Reeves filed an order noting, “The defendant’s bond is and remains revoked,” according to court documents.