Death Rower's Reprieve Plea Denied | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Death Rower's Reprieve Plea Denied

The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution to a man who is set to become the third man in as many weeks the state puts to death. Gary Carl Simmons had asked the court for an additional 14 days to have a mental exam conducted, but justices rejected his request this morning. If his scheduled June 20 death by lethal injection is carried out, Simmons will be the third man Mississippi executes in June.

Simmons' conviction for capital murder, rape and kidnapping came on Aug. 29, 1997 for his part in the murder of Jeffrey Wolfe, to whom Simmons owed a drug-related debt. Simmons was also accused of raping Wolfe's girlfriend, Charlene Leaser. In August 1996, Wolfe and Leaser arrived at Simmons' home from Houston. While Simmons and Leaser smoked a joint in the kitchen, Simmons' former brother-in-law, Timothy Milano, shot and killed Wolfe.

Simmons questioned Leaser about whether they were police or had any drugs, tied her up and shoved her into a metal trunk. Later, after Leaser freed herself, Simmons stripped her, took her jewelry and raped her. When she heard that no one answered Simmons' ringing phone, Leaser escaped the trunk and ran to a neighbor's house.

Police got a warrant to search Simmons' home and noticed a piece of flesh in a boat docked behind Simmons' house, along with some buckets and a bloody bush hook and knife. 
"Shortly after this discovery, they began collecting body parts from the bayou, a task that took several days," a court document said.

At Simmons' trial, his friend, Dennis Guess, testified that Simmons confessed that he had "whacked a drug dealer, ... deboned him, cut him up in little pieces and put him in the bayou." Guess convinced Simmons to turn himself in, which he did Aug. 14.

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