Chris Helms, the 15 year-old young man who wounded School Resource Officer Erik Karney and planned to set off pipe bombs at my children’s high school last September has been sentenced today. It was announced a few days ago that the teen decided to plead guilty on two charges and enter an Alford plea on another after , thus negating the need for a jury trial. Helms was being tried as an adult, and his sentence has just been announced.
The teen who pled guilty to weapons charges and entered an Alford plea for attempted murder Monday has learned his fate only moments ago.
Inside an Horry County courtroom Wednesday morning, Judge Thomas W. Cooper sentenced Christian Helms to six years for the attempted murder charge and six years for the incendiary device charges. The sentences will run concurrent and Helms will receive credit for time served. Helms will stay in juvenile detention until he turns 17-years-old and will then transfer to an adult facility.
Before Judge Cooper delivered the sentence, Helms spoke, saying “I want to be better. I want people to be proud of me.”
“Officer [Erik] Karney, I am so sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. You showed your bravery, your courage, your honor and again you had no way of knowing Christian would be worth that,” Traci Helms said. “You will always be at the top of my list for things I am thankful for.”
Helms’ father, Jamie Helms, said he has been in therapy since the incident and blamed himself for some of the issues.
“I made fun of his haircut and many other things. I always loved him, but I didn’t show it,” Jamie Helms said. “Christian, I love you with all my heart. I am sorry for all the things in the past.”
I have been struggling to write about this for a few days now, and still am. When it was announced that he was pleading out, the TV and print news outlets flooded with comments, and frankly, most of them made me ill. Lord knows I do not think the boy should go unpunished for what he did, and had he killed officer Karney or anyone else I cannot say that I would be so unsure of what the proper punishment is for him. And lord knows if he had injured or killed one of my children, I would probably want his head on a stick. But as things stand, with the things I have seen and read and heard ( some from my own daughter, who saw firsthand how Helms was bullied on campus), I have hope that this young man can turn his life around and emerge from this with the psychological help he needs, and with parents who will get involved and give their child the love and support he was so desperately seeking. I’m sure many will scoff at my bleeding liberal heart, but his words before sentencing just break my heart, because I could see those words personified in his YouTube videos. I’ll elaborate on that in another post soon………… suffice it to say, until that one is completed and posted, that I hope that six years is enough time to heal his mind , and not enough time to completely crush his heart and soul.