Appeals Court upholds manslaughter conviction

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The state Court of Appeals has upheld Patricia Simpson’s 2006 conviction in George County for the shooting death of her husband.

Simpson, who was convicted of manslaughter, was sentenced to 20 years in prison with five years suspended.

Don Simpson died of a gunshot wound on Dec. 22, 2003. Prosecutors said Simpson was shot at the couple’s Lucedale home and died at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile, Ala.

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Simpson argued in her appeal that prosecutors didn’t prove she killed her husband.

Appeals Judge Donna Barnes, writing Tuesday for the court, said while Simpson was alone in her house with her husband, the statement she gave to investigators contained inconsistencies and was contradicted by the physical evidence in the case.

Barnes said Simpson’s conduct and statements following her husband’s death differed from her version of events recounted at trial.

“Patricia’s explanation for Don’s death went initially from an ‘accidental shooting’ due to a gun-cleaning mishap, to suicide by the time of trial,” Barnes said.

In another case, the Appeals Court upheld William Terry Davis’ 2006 murder conviction and life sentence handed down in Adams County for the 1994 beating death of his ex-wife.

Davis was convicted of the beating death of Rena Davis, whose body was found at her Natchez home. She died from blunt trauma to the head. Three Davis’ family members testified they were with him on the night of Rena’s death.

Prosecutors said the phone lines into the house were cut, showing premeditation. They said multiple witnesses testified about incidents in which Davis struck Rena, sometimes resulting in hospital visits.

On appeal, Davis argued that prosecutors didn’t proved his killed his ex-wife.

Appeals Judge Leslie King, writing Tuesday for the court, said Davis had threatened to kill his ex-wife and had admitted to a friend that he had beaten her to death.