Defense attorneys: Guilty man's sentence violates state law - - Columbia, South Carolina

Defense attorneys: Guilty man's sentence violates state law

Curtis Simms in court on last week. Curtis Simms in court on last week.
Allen M. Gasque Allen M. Gasque

The Columbia man sentenced to five years in prison Feb. 5 for his role in a 2010 death after a University of South Carolina football game wants a new trial and reconsideration to be given to his sentence.

Curtis Simms was found guilty of breach of peace of a high and aggravated nature by a jury after five days of testimony.The jury found Simms not guilty on an involuntary manslaughter charge. Both charges stem from a fight between Simms, 27, and 20-year-old Allen Gasque, of Marion, resulting in Gasque being run over by a truck on Shop Road at about 9 p.m. Oct. 9, 2010. Gasque later died at an area hospital.

Judge Diane Goodstein gave Simms a 10-year sentence suspended to five years in prison, followed by three years probation.

On Feb. 8, Simms' attorneys Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris filed a motion to set aside the sentence or reduce the sentence. The defense attorneys claimed that the Omnibus Crime Bill passed in June 2010 allows all breach of peace charges in the state code have a maximum of a $500 fine and/or 30 days in prison.

Once a hearing is set for this motion, the defense attorneys said they will provide testimony and documents to support their position, court documents stated.

A motion for a new trial was also filed Feb. 8 by the defense attorneys, claiming Simms did not have a fair trial.

"In the state's closing argument, prosecution stated the defendant, through closing remarks, conceded his guilt on the breach of peace high and aggravated charge," according to court documents. "Counsel of the defendant objected and the court issued a curative instruction. These comments by the prosecution regarding concession of guilt were so egregious and prejudicial that the defendant's right to a fair trial and just verdict were violated."

If a new trial is not granted, the defense requested a judgment of acquittal because they say there was insufficient evidence to substation a conviction.

No court date has been set at this time.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly