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

Former SRJC communication studies instructor Michael “Ken” Beyries sentenced to house arrest and probation

Courtesy CA Superior Court website
Former communications studies professor Michael “Ken” Beyries received his sentence at the Santa Rosa California Superior Court Thursday, April 18, 2024.

Former Santa Rosa Junior College communications studies instructor Michael “Ken” Beyries was sentenced at the Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday morning to 180 days of house arrest followed by two years of probation for bringing a loaded gun onto SRJC’s Santa Rosa campus in November.

Beyries accepted a plea deal in March from prosecutors at the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office, and the judge finalized the agreement during Thursday’s sentencing hearing. Beyries will begin wearing a monitoring device on April 19.

On Nov. 8, 2023, Beyries suffered a coughing attack and asked students to retrieve his inhaler from his office. Two students found the pistol in Beyries’ briefcase during their search for the inhaler, which they reported to an instructor. On Nov. 20, SRJC 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 briefcase and car. 

Attorney Roy Miller had submitted a plea deal for Beyries, which resulted in a decrease of his charges, from three felony counts to one. In addition, the court waived the formal arraignment.

At the sentencing hearing, Miller requested that the probation office consider Beyries’ “very serious medical issues,” numerous doctor’s appointments already scheduled, and the remote location of his home. Judge Dana Beernink Simonds accepted the addition to the agreement, noting that decisions regarding probation are decided by the probation office.

Simonds mentioned the “very nice letters that people wrote on [his] behalf.” However, she continued, “There are reasons that no guns are allowed at schools.”

Simonds read Beyries’ response to the plea deal, in which he had stated his preference for an informal probation, rather than the formal probation he would receive in exchange for the suspended judgment.

Beyries will wear the monitoring device and remain on house arrest until Oct. 25, 2024, and then will undergo two years of formal probation. The sentencing did not forbid Beyries from drinking alcohol, the judge noted. Miller responded that Beyries and his neighbors tend a hobby vineyard and make their own wine.

Beyries will be subject to search and seizure of his car or home at any reasonable hour of the day or night. He must provide saliva or blood samples upon request. While the judge did not formally require Beyries to seek employment, she did encourage him to socialize. 

“I hope you appreciate those kids at school, trying to help you, they were pretty taken aback,” Simonds said before closing the hearing. “At school, it’s just inappropriate [to have a gun].”

On the way to the probation office after the sentencing, Beyries told Oak Leaf reporter, Amy Moore, “With the atmosphere existing in our community today concerning firearms, I feel this as very generous on part of the court.”

The judge reminded Beyries twice during the hearing that, other than the official finalizing or rejecting of the sentence, the court has no bearing on the agreement between the Beyries and the prosecutor’s office.

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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.

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    MarshallApr 30, 2024 at 8:31 am

    Has anyone reached out to Ken? I’d like to hear his response to the story.