Accused Chelsea gunman not guilty by reason of mental disease

Published 4:14 pm Monday, July 7, 2014

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 22-year-old Chelsea man charged with holding five girls at gunpoint at Chelsea Middle School in 2013 is awaiting commitment to a mental health facility after he was found not guilty of criminal charges by reason of mental disease or defect.



During a July 7 hearing, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves dismissed charges against Ryan Matthew Sims and found him not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, according to court documents.

Sims faced five felony counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count of making terrorist threats after he was charged with holding five Chelsea Middle School students hostage at gunpoint in the girls’ locker room at the school on Feb. 12, 2013.

Sims, who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by professionals at the Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Center, currently is being held at the Shelby County Jail without bond. Court documents do not list a date for Sims to be transferred to the mental health facility.

Sims’ attorney John Anthony Lentine previously said Sims also was determined to be suffering from acute psychosis when he entered a locker room at Chelsea Middle School armed with a pistol and held five girls at gunpoint Feb. 12, 2013.

Lentine said Sims was unable to discern right from wrong at the time of the incident at Chelsea Middle.

Sims has remained in the Shelby County Jail since August 2013. He was released from jail on a $515,000 bond in June 2013, but his bond was revoked and he was rearrested after Shelby County sheriff’s deputies discovered a “box containing 49 rounds of live .22 cal cartridges” in Sims’ bedroom in August 2013, according to court documents.