Two sentenced for roles in death of Amite County man

Published 4:39 pm Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two people have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit third-degree arson and desecration of a human corpse in the 2006 death of 61-year-old Jerry Wayne Simmons.

Authorities said Simmons was fatally shot at his home in Amite County and driven to Pike County where the suspects then burned him in his truck.

On Tuesday, Russell Eric Lovett, 41, and his former girlfriend Bobbie Miller, 30, both of Liberty, entered the pleas in Pike County Circuit Court.

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Circuit Judge Mike Taylor sentenced Lovett to five years with four years suspended on the conspiracy charge and five years with the sentence suspended on the desecration charge.

Miller was sentenced to five years on each count, with one year suspended on each charge, meaning she will serve eight years in prison.

In September, an Amite County jury convicted Miller’s brother, Buddy John Ravencraft, 28, of Magnolia, of murder in Simmons’ death. Ravencraft was sentenced to life in prison for murder plus 15 years for grand larceny for the theft of Simmons’ guns and unlawful possession of Simmons’ pickup truck. It was the same truck in which Miller’s burned body was found on a road in Pike County.

Miller pleaded guilty in February in Amite County to accessory after the fact in connection with Simmons’ murder. She received a five-year sentence, with credit for time served, and four years of post-release supervision. In exchange for her plea, she agreed to testify against her brother.

Prosecutors said Ravencraft choked Simmons and then shot him. Prosecutors said Lovett participated in leading Miller and Ravencraft to where Simmons’ body was burned.

Lovett still faces accessory charges in Amite County in connection with the incident. His case is scheduled for January.

In November, Ravencraft pleaded guilty to third-degree arson, desecration of a corpse and two counts conspiracy in Pike County Circuit Court.