Sept. 20—FORT WALTON BEACH—Christopher Wimmer, the former Okaloosa County EMS paramedic prosecuted for taking "selfies" with incapacitated victims in ambulances, was sentenced Tuesday to six months in jail and three years probation in an Okaloosa County Courthouse.
Wimmer, 35, was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, pay court costs and was prohibited from practicing as an EMS paramedic throughout the duration of his sentence. The sentence was recommended by Assistant State Attorney Clifton Drake and handed down by Okaloosa County Circuit Judge William Stone.
The former Crestview resident had previously pled no contest to seven felony counts of interception and disclosure of oral communications and one misdemeanor count of battery, stemming from an incident in which he held open a sedated woman's eyelids and posed for a picture.
Wimmer and another EMS paramedic, Kayla Dubois, were investigated and charged last year after allegations surfaced the pair had compromising photos on their phones of patients inside ambulances who were under their care as part of an ongoing "selfie war." In total, the investigation found 41 patients who were photographed or recorded without their consent.
Defense attorney T. Martin Knopes appeared before the judge to express his client's remorse. Knopes told the judge Wimmer had moved to Boston, Massachusetts, since the investigation and had gotten a job as a project coordinator. Knopes pleaded for probation so Wimmer could continue his job and life in Boston.
Wimmer also took to the podium himself and told the court how he "deeply regretted" his role in the incident.
"When I see ambulances drive by every single time in Boston, it reminds me of the mistakes that I've made and how it affected everyone else that was involved," Wimmer told the judge. "To all the patients and their families, I want you to know how sorry I am for the things that I did and the crimes I committed."
Drake told the judge none of the victims in the case were willing to speak in court because they had been humiliated from the ordeal.
"I read these letters (from the victims) and the nightmares the victims are having," Drake told the judge. "When these victims see an ambulance, they panic and they question whether they should even call 911. When you call 911 you ... trust that the people that are sent will not take advantage of you."
Wimmer pleaded for no jail time, but Stone handed down two six-month sentences to be served concurrently in addition to probation, community service and court costs. Wimmer will report for jail Friday morning.
Pamela Burman, one of the victims in the case, said she did not feel like justice had been served because she believed Wimmer should have gotten more jail time.
"For him not to get more jail time than he did is adding insult to injury," Burman said. "We were devalued as human beings...and he felt that he could laugh at us."