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Maximum penalty is too little for family of slain boxer

Maximum penalty is too little for family of slain boxer

A 31-year-old man convicted by a jury of manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boxing standout last year was sentenced Thursday to the maximum of 10 years in prison.

Terrance Sims said he never meant to harm Ronald Gibbs, a nationally-ranked boxer with Olympic aspirations. Sims had given a ride on March 6, 2011 to a woman dating Gibbs' sister, and both Sims and Gibbs got involved in a fight between the two women.

Though Gibbs, known as "Rock," was skilled with his hands, he was no match for the knife wielded by Sims. 

Circuit Court Judge John Addison Howard noted that Sims had been convicted of manslaughter for a shooting exactly 10 years to the day before that Gibbs was stabbed, and that in 2009 Howard had sentenced Sims to three years in prison for heroin distribution. 

"There's no question that there are a lot of people in your family who have a great deal of faith in your character," Howard told Sims. "But I look at this record, and it is like the wasted lives of so many people who pass through this court." 

"Looking at this case from that perspective, the longer I keep you off the streets, the safer everybody in Baltimore City will be," Howard said. 

Gibbs' father, Ronald Gibbs Sr., praised the judge and prosecutors, but said he was frustrated with the jury's decision of manslaughter. He said he walked across the stage at what would have been his son's high school graduation, and still gets mail from the Art Institute of Philadelphia, which had offered the younger Gibbs a scholarship. 

In pleading for leniency, a friend of Sims turned to Ronald Gibbs Sr. and said she had no idea that his daughter and her cousin were supposed to stay away from each other. From the seating gallery, Gibbs shot back that the two women "didn't stab my son."

"This was a man attacking a child," Gibbs Sr. said outside the courtroom after the hearing. "There was no justice [in the verdict], and anyone else who listened to the case felt the same way."

Sims at trial argued that he felt threatened by Gibbs, and, according to Howard, picked up an open switchblade that was lying in the street. He did not know the woman he drove to Gibbs' home and claimed he never intended to get involved in their dispute.

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