A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Michael “Ken” Beyries enters plea deal in felony case for having a loaded gun on campus

Sean Shanks
SRJC District Police arrested Communication Studies associate instructor Michael Kenneth Beyries for possession of a concealed firearm on campus and booked him at the Sonoma County Jail before he attended class at Garcia Hall Nov. 20.

Michael “Ken” Beyries, 75, former Santa Rosa Junior College communication studies instructor, pleaded “no contest” to one felony gun charge on March 5 at the Sonoma County Superior Court in Santa Rosa.

Prosecutors charged Beyries with felony possession of a firearm on a college campus stemming from a November incident at Garcia Hall. Prosecutors dropped three other charges — having a gun without being the registered owner, having a concealed and loaded gun in a car, and having a loaded gun in a public space — in the plea deal.

Beyries is likely to be sentenced to two years of probation, according to Deputy District Attorney Javier Vaca. As long as Beyries maintains good conduct and does not break a law, nor own a firearm and agrees to search and seizure if called to, his probation will not be extended beyond the time determined at his sentencing hearing scheduled for April 18, Vaca said. Vaca expects the court to honor the agreement between the defendant and the DA’s office. 

“He took early responsibility for the charge. Someone gets credit in their favor when they want to take responsibility for the charge. [In those situations], we’ll drop charges and come down on sentencing,” Vaca said.

On Nov. 20, Santa Rosa Junior College District Police arrested Beyries for possessing a concealed and loaded firearm on the Santa Rosa campus. Officers found a Colt .380 ACP caliber semiautomatic pistol after searching Beyries, his car and briefcase. 

Several days earlier, Beyries’s students had discovered the pistol when he sent them to search for his inhaler following a coughing fit during class. Beyries asked the students to get his inhaler from his briefcase. After discovering the gun, the students alerted authorities who then acquired warrants to search Beyries.

Officers approached Beyries as he exited his car in the staff parking lot. He complied to be searched. Following the arrest, Beyries pleaded not guilty Dec. 21, 2023. School officials placed him on paid administrative leave and forbade him coming onto campus. He resigned from his SRJC associate teaching position in December.

Beyries arrived at his preliminary hearing on March 5 wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches and using a blue cane. He waited in the courtroom, hands folded over his cane, for an hour and a half past the posted hearing time for his case to be called.

His attorney, Roy Miller, appeared confident throughout. As they prepared to enter the courtroom, Beyries hesitated and asked if he should come in. “They usually want you in there,” Miller said. Once Beyries was called forward, Judge Rene Chouteau said, “Good to see you again,” to Beyries, a former attorney.

Chouteau took several minutes to find the new documents submitted by the DA’s office. Once found, the process quickly finished with Beyries pleading no contest and the judge referring him immediately to the probation office. Beyries left the courtroom in the same manner he arrived, unaccompanied and solemn. 

“My goal here was to make sure someone took responsibility for the crime and be given appropriate consequences for that conduct,” Vaca said.

Beyries declined to comment on advice from his attorney. Miller’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Amy Moore
Amy Moore, Reporter
Amy Moore is in her first semester at The Oak Leaf. She has published poetry, essays, and science articles.
Sean Shanks
Sean Shanks, Reporter
Sean is in his first semester at the Oak Leaf. He would like to travel and tell people's stories, partially because life can be so insufferably boring, but mostly because people's stories are beautiful and accountability is awesome.

Comments (0)

All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *