A gunman who prosecutors say may have planned to execute a mass killing at Folsom Lake College in 2012 will get out of jail next year, according to the sentence that was handed down today.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn could have kept David Ming Lee locked up until March 2017. But the judge cited the state’s realignment law in splitting the nine-year term he imposed on Lee into five years in custody and four on supervised probation. With good-time credits, Lee, who has been in custody since his arrest on Oct. 25, 2012, is eligible to be released in April 2015.
Lee, 22, was taken into custody at the college after bringing a loaded .40-caliber Glock pistol onto campus. He also was charged with altering a rifle to become an illegal assault weapon and with possession of the same gun. Police found the assault weapon when they searched Lee’s residence in Folsom.
According to court documents, Lee posted photos of himself on Facebook with both the handgun and with a modified assault rifle. Over the years, he had described himself as a “murderous person” who wanted to exceed the 33 shooting deaths at Virginia Tech in 2007.
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At Lee’s sentencing Friday, Winn ordered that the defendant stay away from Folsom Lake College when he gets out of jail. Winn also ordered that as part of his probation, Lee not possess any firearms or ammunition and that he be placed on a GPS monitoring system for the duration of his supervised release.
Winn additionally ordered that Lee have no contact with three specified individuals, that he enroll in a professional counseling program when he gets out of jail, and that he be subject to search and seizure.
The judge scheduled a March 20, 2015, hearing to assess Lee’s progress before he is released from jail.
Lee stood and stared downward during his sentencing with his arms folded. He had denied in an interview with The Sacramento Bee earlier in the week that he planned to shoot anyone. When the judge asked him about the probation conditions, Lee said his only two words of the hearing, that he “understood” and “accepted” them.
Neither Deputy District Attorney Jesse Saucedo nor Assistant Public Defender Eric Handler commented after the sentencing.
Winn cited the state’s realignment law for splitting Lee’s sentence. Under the terms of the state’s old sentencing structure for gun crimes, he would have been subject to the same amount of time in custody, but he would have served it in state prison instead of at the county jail. Under the pre-realignment sentencing laws, Lee also would have been subject to a three-year state parole “tail” once he was released. Realignment has no probation follow-up requirement for new offenders unless the sentences are split.
Folsom Lake College economics professor Carolyn “Candy” Smith, who taught the class that Lee was supposed to attend the day of his arrest, said “I don’t know if I’m going to be safe” once Lee gets out.
Even with the probation supervision that will follow Lee under his split sentence, Smith said she would have preferred that he stay in jail as long as possible.
“I think it would be easier for me to know he was being incarcerated,” Smith said.