QUINCY -- A 19-year sentence to the Illinois Department of Corrections was handed down to a Quincy man who pleaded guilty to burglarizing a Quincy firearms store three times in 2018.
Darrion L. Simms faced up to 20 years in prison, though he was eligible for probation, when he was sentenced by Judge Amy Lannerd on Friday in Adams County Circuit Court.
Simms, 21, pleaded guilty in October to three counts of burglary and three counts of possession of a stolen firearm. As part of the negotiation, three counts of gunrunning were dismissed.
Simms was arrested July 19, 2018, as he was burglarizing Prevailing Arms, 510 S. Ninth, which he also burglarized on June 10 and 27.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Todd Eyler said there were many reasons that Simms would qualify for a lesser sentence, including his age, lack of criminal record, acknowledgement of the burglaries and as a father to a young daughter.
Asking for the maximum 20-year sentence, Eyler argued that Simms already received consideration for a lesser sentence with the plea agreement. Simms faced a minimum of 54 years in prison based on the original charges, which included the gunrunning.
“He didn’t do this just once,” Eyler said. “He didn’t do this just twice. He did this three times.”
Simms sold the weapons, with Eyler noting that one was found by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
“The defendant was proud with what he did,” he said. “He displayed them. He took pictures of them. He showed them off.”
When police arrived to arrest him, Eyler said Simms was holding a firearm pointed in the direction of an officer.
“I’m not suggesting he intentionally did it, but you can see, hear and picture the environment,” he said. “This was such a dangerous situation he created.”
Simms also resisted arrest, reportedly kicking an officer and kicking a squad car to prevent himself from being thrown into the vehicle.
Eyler also questioned the extent of Simms’ cooperation. A second man was seen in surveillance footage during the first burglary, but when asked about it, Simms told police that he only knew the man as “Rico.”
Simms’ attorney, Deputy Chief Public Defender Chris Pratt, argued for probation or a prison sentence of no more than eight years, which would make Simms eligible for Impact Incarceration.
He said research shows that the human brain continues to grow and mature in a person’s early 20s, and that Simms has changed dramatically in his time since his arrest.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Mr. Simms is a different individual,” Pratt said.
Conceding the seriousness of the charges, Pratt said Simms admitted what he had done to police.
In a statement to the court, Simms apologized to the court, his family and himself and said he was ready to accept the consequences.
“I not only failed myself. I failed my daughter,” he said, adding he wanted to be the best father he could be.
In handing down the sentence, Lannerd said that Simms created a dangerous situation for himself and officers and that prison was the appropriate sentence.
Simms lowered his head and sighed as the sentence was given.
He received credit for 917 days served in the Adams County Jail, where he had been held on $300,000 bond.
Simms is eligible for day-for-day credit for good behavior.