Ramstein airman heading to jail for role in soldier's death
May 24, 2008
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — A Ramstein airman is headed to jail after being sentenced Friday for his role in a 2005 gang initiation beating that led to a soldier’s death. The military judge, Air Force Col. Gordon Hammock, sentenced Airman Nicholas Sims to 8 years’ confinement, a dishonorable discharge and reduction to the lowest rank for his role in the beating death of Sgt. Juwan Johnson.
On Wednesday, the 28-year-old Sims pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, disobeying an order by being a gang member and distribution of marijuana and Ecstasy. His maximum possible punishment was 42 years’ confinement. Sims is a member of Ramstein’s 86th Maintenance Squadron.
Because of his 162 days of pretrial confinement credit and a pretrial agreement calling for no confinement in excess of 78 months, Sims will be eligible for release after serving no more than roughly six years behind bars. The convening authority in the case, Lt. Gen. Robert Bishop, will make a determination on how long Sims is locked up.
Sims is the first airman to face legal punishment for his role in the 2005 gang-beating death, from which the involuntary manslaughter charge stems.
Johnson was beaten for six minutes by at least six members of the Gangster Disciples on the evening of July 3, 2005. The Army sergeant was found dead in his Kaiserslautern barracks the next day. Last summer, two soldiers were convicted for their roles in Johnson’s death, while a third was acquitted on the charges in October. A second airman — Air Force Staff Sgt. Jerome Jones — has an Article 32 hearing scheduled for June 18.