Before the State of Mississippi executed a death penalty for crimes committed by Gary Carl Simmons (49), the former skilled butcher expressed contrition for the 1996 murder of drug-dealer Jeffrey Wolfe. Simmons, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, "said that he had made peace with God and that he was remorseful. Simmons was the twenty-second person to be executed in the United States in 2012 alone and the third to be put to death in Mississippi this month, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Simmons died by lethal injection at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman MS. He was pronounced dead by authorities at 6:16 pm local time, according to official spokesmen. Simmons was convicted of having dismembered Wolfe, to whom he owed money for drugs, with butcher knives taking from the grocery store where he worked. Simmons then scattered Wolfe's body parts in a bayou ridden with alligators.
Mississippi, which also rates high in areas such as illiteracy and teen pregnancy, has now executed six inmates in 2012 and thus has the highest number of executions carried out by the state in a single year since 1956, when there were eight executions.
Simmons was convicted of the August 1996 murder of Wolfe. According to the Mississippi Supreme Court, Wolfe and his girlfriend drove from Texas to Mississippi to collect a drug debt of between $12,000 and $20,000. Unknown to the Texas duo, Simmons and accomplice Timothy Milano were waiting with other plans. Records show that when Simmons and Milano told Wolfe they did not have the drugs or the money, an argument ensued. Milano fatally shot Wolfe with a .22-caliber rifle.
Seizing Wolfe's female companion, Simmons then bound her and locked her in a footlocker. Releasing her later, Simmons raped the girlfriend. After the rape, Simmons confined the woman in the footlocker again and then dismembered Wolfe's body in a bathtub using the sharpened implements he had brought from his place of employment.
Simmons and Milano then put Wolfe's remains in a swamp nearby. Fortunately, Wolfe's girlfriend escaped from the foot locker and ran to a neighbor's house to call police, records showed.
Simmons was sentenced to death after being convicted in August 1997 of kidnapping, rape and capital murder. However, accomplice Milano was merely sentenced to life in prison.
For his last supper, Simmons requested pizza, parmesan cheese, ranch dressing, chips, jalapeno nacho cheese and peppers, strawberry milkshakes, cherry soda, french fries and strawberry ice cream.
Last minute legal maneuvers failed to prevent Simmons' execution. His lawyers the U.S. Supreme Court on June 20 to prevent the execution and also order the Mississippi Supreme Court to afford their client the opportunity to pursue appeals based on claims of ineffective counsel and mental illness. "Post-conviction counsel did not arrange for Mr. Simmons to undergo any mental health evaluations and it appears that counsel completely overlooked raising any claims regarding Mr. Simmons' addiction, posttraumatic stress disorder and brain dysfunction even though a cursory investigation would have raised a number of red flags," the petition said.
However, the state supreme court ruled against stopping the execution in a 5-4 vote earlier on June 20. Gov. Phil Bryant later said that he would not grant clemency. "In light of Mr. Simmons having been convicted by a jury of his peers and after a review of the facts associated with his case, I have decided not to grant clemency and will not delay the execution," Bryant said in a statement.