DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The man found guilty in an acid attack that left a woman permanently disfigured has been sentenced to 20 years.
A jury found Christy Sims' ex-boyfriend, Andrew Fordham, guilty of aggravated assault and aggravated battery after five hours of deliberations. During sentencing, Fordham remained adamant that this incident was an accident.
Sims was at home in 2013 when she was called to the bathroom by her boyfriend, asking her to bring a towel.
She testified when she approached the door, Fordham was slipping around on a water puddle, holding a yellow bowl. She said a moment later, he lunged toward her in the hallway, throwing sulfuric acid drain cleaner onto her face, chest and arms.
“I can't describe the pain. It's worse than any childbirth I've ever had. Instinctively, because my eyes were burning, I went right to sink and started rinsing my eyes," Sims said.
Sims said Fordham called 911 for help. In a recording played to the jury, a dispatcher is heard asking Fordham if he had washed Sims and put her in the shower. He had not.
Sims, who was blinded by the acid, couldn't understand why he wasn't rinsing her off.
"He said, 'If I rinse you off. It's going to ignite the chemicals,' and I'm like, 'What are you talking about? I'm burning. I'm on fire,'" said Sims.
A paramedic later testified the acid had burned through Sims clothes and that he was surprised that Fordham had not rinsed her off. He also said he was suspicious of the wide spill area of the acid into the hallway and walls.
Fordham showed no outward emotion as the judge read guilty on all three counts of battery and assault. He did apologize to Sims after a judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison and 20 years of probation.
During the sentencing hearing, Fordham's family testified asking the judge to show mercy.
Fordham's mother asked the judge to let Fordham be there with his son.
Sims took the stand to ask for mercy as well.
"I pray you give more mercy than he gave me, because even after he doused me, he let me sit there and burn," Sims said.
Channel 2's Tom Regan asked Sims if the verdict was justice.
"It is. I'm not going to rejoice that this man is going to jail, cause nobody has won," she said. "I'm like this for the rest of my life, and he's about to lose his freedom. Nobody wins here."
Sims has undergone over a dozen skin graft surgeries. She told Regan that Fordham did it because he knew she wanted to break up. He claimed he slipped on water and accidentally threw the drain cleaner on her.
"In the process of all this legal stuff, I had had my face taken off and put back on every couple of months," Sims said. "You know what I'm saying? I should be able to rest."
"I'm just glad it's over," said Elaine Tucker, Sims' mother. "It's been such a long time. A long struggle."