June 2, 1982.
I was eleven years old. I was with my mom in her 1973 Ford Pinto station wagon and we were returning home from Wednesday night church services. We turned on to our street and I saw my dad waiting near the end of our driveway. By the time we got to the house, he was waiting in the street to tell my mom that my cousin, her brother’s only daughter, had been brutally murdered. Stabbed to death as she worked a mail route in a very small town. Stabbed more than 27 times while onlookers watched from afar and desperately tried to reach her to offer assistance as she bled to death on the side of the road.
I really wanted to write an eloquent post about Terri, but I can’t. I can’t because I never got the chance to know her. I even tried to call my sister tonight (phone was busy) to ask her for a few anecdotes about Terri so I could make everyone understand that she was more than a mention in a crime log. She was a person who was loved and who is still missed even today.
So what do I remember about Terri?
She was fun. To an 11 year old, that’s a pretty good quality for a cousin to have.
What do I know about Terri?
She was a young wife (still a newlywed, really) and didn’t yet have children. She was a Christian, as was her husband who was working as a youth minister. She was beautiful. She had parents and a brother who adored her and her death shattered their lives and left a hole in our family.
Why do I bring this up now?
Her killer was a 17 year old boy/man. He got into her car and attempted to abduct her as she delivered mail that day. It’s believed that rape was his intent which, to Terri, was a fate much worse than death. She fought back by running her car into another vehicle and attempting to escape. She was not successful and she paid with her life.
Her killer knifed her repeatedly and ran from the scene. There were several eyewitnesses and dogs tracked him to his parents’ home. The usual scenario followed. Arrest, trial, sentenced as an adult to prison. He would come up for parole every so often and was always denied, due in part to members of Terri’s immediate family always being present at these parole hearings. His case was likely not helped due to his lack of remorse. He never once apologized for his actions.
So, where’s the justice?
He never made parole and now he never will. Ultimately, he did serve a life sentence in prison. This obituary was in my local paper this morning.
Rodney Scott Simms – IVOR
Rodney Scott Simms, 42, beloved son of Sy Sidney and Emily Babb Simms, died Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006. A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at Purviance Funeral Chapel. Burial is at Rosemont Cemetery, Sedley Va. Arrangements by Purviance Funeral Home, Wakefield, Va.
And here’s another from a semi-local newspaper.
Scott Simms – IVOR
Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006
Rodney Scott Simms, 42, died Oct. 15, 2006. Born in Franklin Sept. 28, 1964, he was a beloved son of Sidney R. and Emily Babb Simms. Besides his parents, he is also survived by his brother, Lance Wilson Simms and his wife Amy of Hunterdale; two nephews, Brendan and Bryce Simms; four aunts, Hilda P. Edwards and her husband Marvin Franklin, Rose E. Rose and her husband J.L. of Walters, Pearl Simms of Walters and Judy Turner and her husband Roland of Windsor. Scott was predeceased by three uncles, Tommy and George Allen Babb and Randy Simms. A funeral will be held at Purviance Funeral Chapel, Wakefield, Thursday at 2 p.m. by the Rev. Tony Lowe, the Rev. Roy Drake and Jeff Crim. Burial will be in Rosemont Cemetery, Sedley, Va. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and at other times at the residence of his parents, 14421 Appleton Road, Ivor. Memorial donations may be made to Ivor United Methodist Church. Condolences may be posted at www.jtmorriss.com.
So, in a sense, justice was served. While it certainly can’t bring Terri back or ease the pain and suffering her death has caused over the years, I, for one, am glad this man will never pose a danger to anyone else ever again.