Jury Finds Heather Sims Guilt of Voluntary Manslaughter

It was a case that felt like it should have been part of an elaborate movie or crime novel. It’s not the type of case you expect to hear about in a Horry County courtroom, yet that’s just where a jury heard about the events that led to death of Heather Sim’s husband.

heather-simsIt only took the jury four hours to come back with a charge of guilty of voluntary manslaughter. After hearing the jury’s verdict, Judge Cordell Maddox informed Sims and her legal team that her sentence included 25 years in prison, suspended to 10 years and five years’ probation. She needs to serve a minimum of 85% of that sentence before she’ll be considered for parole.

On August 11, 2013 local police were called to the Sims home where they found David in the bathroom where his wife had shot him. She claimed that they’d been arguing and that she shot him because the argument had escalated to the point where she was afraid for her life. Officers at the scene noted that she had sustained cuts, supposedly during the argument she had with her husband, but during her trial and expert witness said the cuts were self-inflicted.

Voluntary-ManslaughterDuring the trial, Prosecutor Nancy Livesay, maintained that Heather Sims did her very best to create a scene that was designed to look like an accidental shooting when it was in fact murder.

“She’s covering up an awful horrific murder,” Livesay said. “It is when you go to the scene you see the murder and the premeditation. This woman is down there going through his pocket and putting a knife in his hand. He was shot right through the heart and lung and immediately fell to his knees. He’s sitting there with the blood dropping on the back of his jeans. There is no way in hell that knife stayed in his hand.”

572a44db9a70a.imageLivesay believes that the real reason Sim’s killed her husband was because she wanted his life insurance money. She was quick to point out that the insurance policy was still quite new. “That policy went into effect July 23,” she said. “This man didn’t make it three weeks after that policy goes into effect.”

From the moment the police arrived on the scene right up to the point where the jury announced their verdict, Sims has been very consistent about her statement and has maintained her innocence.

“Cases like this are the reason I chose to pursue a career in personal injury law. I find them fascinating,” said Joseph Sandefur, managing partner of a top personal injury firm with an office headquartered in Myrtle Beach. “At this point, I’m sure that David Sim’s family has been distracted by the criminal case against Heather Sims. Now that it is over, I hope they explore the possibility of a wrongful death civil lawsuit.”

If you were injured in a crime or if someone you loved died as a result of someone else’s actions, you should contact https://joeandmartin.com/myrtle-beach and explore your legal options.

 

Family of Stuntwoman is Suing for $10 million for a Fatal Fall

Wanda Sapp would visit movie sets even when her daughter was not performing the stunts.  However, in November her daughter Sonja Davis feel while doing a stunt for the movie with Eddie Murphy called “Vampire in Brooklyn.” Now this family is suing Paramount Studios and Eddie Murphy Productions for $10 million.  They are saying that the crew of the film did not provide her daughter with the correct safety equipment.

11_14_38_669_file“The last words I heard my baby say was when she yelled down to the stunt coordinator, ‘Are you sure?’ ” is what Sapp had to say when she gave a phone interview. “I could feel Sonja wasn’t comfortable with the stunt.”  She said that she was not able to leave her seat when her daughter feel off of a building that was 42 feet high.  She said that the cushion her daughter landed on actually threw her into the building and then she hit the ground.

Those that represent Paramount Studios as well as those at Eddie Murphy Productions were not reached for a comment.

Sapp as well as her three remaining children filed a wrongful death suit saying that those at the studio, the production company, director Wes Craven, and stunt coordinator Alan Oliney were reckless and they were also negligent because they told her daughter to jump without a safety line.  They are also claiming that the air bag on the ground was not located in the correct place.

bungee-jumb-nepal-760x350The stunt woman had been in a coma with numerous injuries.  This lasted for 13 days and then she died.  “She asked them three times (as she stood on top of the building before the stunt) if they were sure it was OK,” said Sapp. “I could feel her lack of confidence and then she paused.”

Davis was an African American, 32-year-old stunt woman who was working consistently. She had even been a double Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett.

Her mother said “Sonja enjoyed what she did,” and “So many people came up to me at the funeral to tell me how good she was.”

tacfall (2)Bob Minor is a stuntman who has been doing this work for 25 years.  He reported that Davis as able to make a name for herself and became comfortable with the job.

“I considered her the top black female stunt person in the business,” Minor said.  He had hired her to work on who “Poetic Justice” and a number of other movies. “She is already being missed in the business.”

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is actually in the process of investigating this death.  It has been found that Paramount’s permit for filming on that day talked about pushing a “dummy from building onto parked car.” The stunt woman’s jump was not mentioned.

 

 

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