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December 28, 1987, Ronald Simmons Kills 2, Later 14 Bodies Of Relatives Discovered, Today In Crime History
On this day, December 28, in the year 1987, Ronald Gene Simmons shot and killed two people and wounded three others in the course of a shooting rampage in the town of Russellville, Arkansas. After police apprehended Simmons, they searched his home in nearby Dover, Arkansas, and discovered the bodies of 14 members of Simmons' family, all of whom had been murdered.
Shortly before Christmas 1987, Simmons decided to intentionally murder his entire family. On the morning of December 22, he killed his wife and one son by shooting them with a .22 caliber pistol. He then killed his 3-year-old granddaughter by strangulation. Simmons dumped their bodies in a pit he had made his children dig earlier that year for an outhouse. Simmons then waited for his other children to return to the house. After their arrival, he told them he had Christmas presents for each of them, but wanted to give them one at a time. He then killed his 17 year old daughter by strangling her and holding her head under water in a rain barrel. His three other remaining children were each killed in the same manner.
On December 26, the remaining members of the family arrived for a Christmas visit. The first to be killed on that day was another one of Simmons’ sons and that son’s wife. Both were shot dead. Then Simmons strangled and drowned their 20-month-old son. Later that day he shot and killed his oldest daughter, with whom he'd had an incestuous relationship, and her husband. Simmons then strangled his 7-year-old child by that daughter, and finally his 21-month-old grandson. After these killings, Simmons went for a drink at a local bar, and then returned to the house. He spent the rest of the evening and the following day drinking beer and watching television.
On the morning of December 28, 1987, Simmons drove into Russellville, walked into a law office, and killed the receptionist, who he had been infatuated with. Next he went to an oil company office, where he killed one man and wounded the owner. Simons then drove to a convenience store where he had previously worked, where he shot and wounded two more people. Afterwards he went to the office of the Woodline Motor Freight Company, where he shot and wounded a woman. Simmons then sat down in that office, chatted with one of the secretaries and waited for the law enforcement to arrive. When they arrived, Simmons handed over his firearm and surrendered without resistance.
Simmons was charged with 16 counts of first degree murder, found guilty at trial, and sentenced to death. Simmons refused to appeal his death sentence, stating, "To those who oppose the death penalty in my particular case, anything short of death would be cruel and unusual punishment." Simmons made an additional statement, under oath, in support of his death sentence: "I, Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr., want it to be known that it is my wish and my desire that absolutely no action by anybody be taken to appeal or in any way change this sentence. It is further respectfully requested that this sentence be carried out expeditiously." The judge conducted an evidentiary hearing concerning Simmons's mental competence to waive further proceedings, and concluded that his decision to accept the death penalty was a knowing and intelligent decision.
On June 25, 1990 Ronald Gene Simmons was executed via lethal injection by the State of Arkansas. None of Simmons’ relatives would claim the body, so he was buried in a pauper's grave at Lincoln Memorial Lawn in Lincoln County, Arkansas.
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