Sims found guilty in escape, assault

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 27, 2003

[8/27/03]After deliberating an hour Tuesday, a Warren County jury found Reginald Sims guilty of escaping from jail and assaulting a law enforcement officer, two of the three charges for which he was indicted in January.

Circuit Judge Isadore Patrick set sentencing for Sept. 19.

Sims, 22, 208 Overlook Drive, also faced a robbery charge after being accused of taking $30 and a law-enforcement radio from a jailer during the escape. He was not convicted on that count.

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The charges stemmed from a breakout from the jail on Nov. 25. Five people fled, and Sims was the last arrested, 28 days later, and charged then.

Patrick allowed the jury of eight men and four women to consider only the charges of escape and simple assault. Later, Assistant District Attorney Mike Bonner explained, “The testimony did not pan out as I had been led to believe,” indicating a witness had changed his story.

Sims did not testify.

In his testimony, Sheriff Martin Pace told the jury about being called to the jail and finding six prisoners missing and Rick Haggard beaten with blood on his face, shoulders and uniform. He also said he found a window in the jail lobby broken out.

Haggard said it was about 11:30 p.m. when he was called to the door of Cell Block D on the second floor of the jail by an inmate who said he had a letter to mail. Haggard then said when he opened the door, a second prisoner said he, too, had a letter to mail.

When the second inmate came forward and handed the jailer the letter, Haggard said he was struck in the forehead by a man he then recognized as Sims. Several other inmates then jumped him.

Sims also faces trial for aggravated assault, and a jury may hear that case in about two weeks. He had been in jail accused of shooting and wounding two people when the escape occurred.