BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A former special DUI prosecutor for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office accused of assaulting his children in October of 2021 pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawful conduct towards a child.
Justin Mims, who was hired as the first full-time special DUI prosecutor for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in December 2020, was arrested by the Hanahan Police Department in October ’21 on several charges including attempted murder and neglect by a legal custodian.
Warrants revealed allegations that Mims threw one of his sons onto a bed and then held his face down, choking the child. An investigator who provided a statement during Mims’s initial bond hearing said the child was coughing and gasping for air after Mims released him from the hold.
Another incident revealed Mims slapped and struck his daughter several times on one occasion and threw her into a chair.
Mims’ wife, Heather, told the judge there were multiple times one of their children could not go to school because a handprint was visible on his face.
The prosecutor said Mims had his hands around his 3 1/2-year-old son’s neck in a strangling motion so violent that the child’s headphones fell off.
His lawyer, Shaun Kent, said Mims was an alcoholic, and quit drinking when he realized he had a problem, way before he was ever charged. He also went to counseling and later turned in his law license.
The prosecution asked for a substantial sentence but the judge presiding over the case handed down a 10-year sentence against Mims but suspended it to only two years with credit for time served.
Mims spent about 450 days under house arrest, and he spent 14 days in jail, so he will get some credits toward that two-year sentence.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections will determine exactly how many days he will serve based on the credits he qualifies for.