Downer Decision: Man Pulls Over To Yell At Bicyclist Riding With Three-Year-Old Son and Shoots Him in the Back of the Helmet — Given Just Four Months By North Carolina Judge

Former Asheville firefighter Charles Alexander Diez was irate over the fact that cyclist Alan Simons was bicycling on a busy road with his 3-year-old son in a child seat. His solution was to pull over, confront Simons and then shoot him in the head. The bullet went through Simons’ helmet and just missed his head. However, Superior Court Judge James Downs found that Diez was having a bad day and his military record had to be considered. He, therefore, gave Diez an astonishing 15-27 months and then suspended all but four months. Four months for coming less than an inch from killing a man in front of his son.

Simons was walking away when Diez fired his .38 caliber into the back of his helmet. He was originally, and properly, charged with attempted first-degree murder, but a grand jury indicted him on felony assault instead.

Even with this charge, he could have received as much as 39 months in prison. Down felt that four months were sufficient so long as he attended an anger-management training and, oh yes, to pay $1,200 to cover Simons’ medical costs for damage to his eardrum.

What I cannot get beyond is not just the attempted murder but that fact that this “model citizen” tried to kill an unarmed man in front of his three-year-old son. Diez was not drunk at the time. Yet, Down believes that a simple anger management class should do the trick.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Downer Decision: Man Pulls Over To Yell At Bicyclist Riding With Three-Year-Old Son and Shoots Him in the Back of the Helmet — Given Just Four Months By North Carolina Judge”

  1. “I would expect this kind of “justice” in Texas or Florida, but not NC.”


    Well, the redneck belt does cross through the Blue Ridge and into Tobacco Road, so it’s not very surprising. I find this unleashing of a violent person on the community worse than bad judgment. To me it is criminal, because we know with almost perfect certainty that his temper will rise again and his aim might be better next time. Reckless indifference, anyone?

  2. This judge should be impeached or recalled as soon as possible. For the judge to suspend most of the sentence for a near homicide is amazing. Did I read this correctly that the shooting happened in NC? I would expect this kind of “justice” in Texas or Florida, but not NC.

  3. As a Ashevillian let me say that this event has been very troubling for our city. Most here are in total disbelief, again. This first time being the day when Diez decided to ‘teach this guy a lesson’ and try to kill a man in front of his wife and children for riding a bike.

    The really scary thing, here in Asheville, has been the number of kooks that have openly supported Diez. Reason: “Bike riders are annoying!”

    See, in Asheville, we’ve got a lot of ‘progressives’, ‘liberals’, ‘hippies’, call them what you like. Also, we’ve got lots of ‘good ol boys’, ‘rednecks’ and ‘sheep f%ckers’.

    These two factions clash often and this is just another escalation in the ‘locals’ attempt get non-locals to “go back where you came from!”.

    And to think, we got voted one of Americas best places to live!

  4. Takoma–

    You said: “And what’s this religion about “military record” in this country?”

    I have to agree with you…considering that felons, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and racists have been inducted into the military for quite a few years now.

  5. Jason

    We all agree that the judge is an idiot.


    I wouldn’t say the judge is a complete idiot. Clearly some parts of him are missing. Mostly the bits inside the cranium.

  6. Takoma-
    Though I am not a member of the NRA, I do have a concealed carry permit and carry regularly. I also read and contribute to several gun related forums, and the sentiment is almost unanimous that this guy should be in prison for a long time. That’s whether the opinion is voiced by the stereotypical right-wing NRA member or the less common but increasing population of more liberal/progressive gun owners.

    We all agree that the judge is an idiot. And the grand jury appears to have made a horrible decision. My question is, did the D.A. present the case competently, or was the grand jury handcuffed by a horribly presented case?

  7. TomD.Arch

    I have many problems with some NRA policies–naming just one; they are in a court battle against others and me involving an environmental issue. The NRA is no more of a bizarre political entity than are the federal/state Congresses, the Supreme Courts et al. Our U.S. Congress is about as bizarre as it gets.

    Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to change any governmental organization or NGOs’ policies without being on the inside trying to instill reason within those entities.

  8. Former Federal LEO – you probably remember the “good old days” when the NRA focused on useful things like gun safety training, before it became the bizarre political entity is is today.

  9. His military service should be taken into account. If he has received proper firearms training, then he should be punished more severely for trying to kill someone under those circumstances than some dolt who just wandered into a gun store and has no idea what he’s doing.

  10. Takoma,

    Your broad generalization is way off base and offensive. I am a “card-carrying member of the NRA” and if you read the article and my post, you will understand that the grand jury determined what charge would stand before the judge for which he could make any ruling. Yes, the judge was too lenient with sentencing but as long as the law allows for judicial discretion then he gets to decide the sentence.

  11. Is this moronic judge a card-carrying member of the NRA like this Diez character from hell?… Close by, in South Carolina, I heard it was a “tax holiday” this Thanksgiving holiday for prospective gun buyers with incentives like: “Buy one gun and get another one for free!”… And what’s this religion about “military record” in this country? Did I read it here, the crazy notion that the Senate is considering a law to allow soldiers suffering from mental disorders and PTSD to own and carry guns in urban centers???

  12. Buddha Is Laughing
    “And people wonder why there is declining faith in the law.”


    “…declining faith in the law” DECLINING faith in the law. I don’t know BIL, can you be smart enough to boil water and have any faith left in the rule of law. I can’t, I no longer think of this as a country of laws or fairness.

    A cowardly, back-shooter attempts to kill an unarmed victim = 4 months and $1,200.? I hope there’s a civil suit in this somewhere for the victim, and a change of venue.

  13. 2 things:

    I am in Paris right now, and there are folks all over these busy, crowded city streets at all hours of the morning andnight with kids, sometimes two along with the rider, and maybe a third on another bike (on thee way to school for instance). They manage, and folks respect each other, far more than in the US. It’s called civilized.

    I recently retired after 30 years in the mental health counseling field I’ve seen more than my share of angry males.
    By and large, the anger management courses that judges refer defendants to — mostly private (at least in Virginia) — are a joke. Not to insult the facilitators but, face it, they are getting paid to get the referred offender through the course.

    This story makes me sick. period.

  14. Jury nullification, in this case a grand jury, can cut both ways.


    “While Diez was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder, a grand jury refused to press those charges, instead indicting him on the felony assault charge.”

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