Christopher Simmons Teen Killer Sentenced To Death In Oklahoma

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 Christopher Simmons was seventeen years old when he would murder a woman in Missouri. According to court documents  Christopher Simmons and two younger friends Charles Benjamin and John Tessmer would plan a robbery and a murder. John Tessmer would drop out of the plan however Christopher Simmons and Charles Benjamin would kidnap the woman after breaking into her home and then throwing her off a bridge with her hands bound where she would drown. Christopher Simmons and John Tessmer would both be arrested and charged with the murder. This teen killer was initially sentenced to death however after bringing his case to the Supreme Court stating it was unconstitutional to execute a juvenile the Supreme Court would agree and juveniles in the United States were no longer eligible for the death penalty.

Christopher Simmons 2019 Information

DOC ID990111
Offender NameChristopher L Simmons
RaceWhite
SexMale
Date of Birth04/26/1976
Height/Weight5’11” / 176
Hair/EyesBlonde/Strawberry / Blue
Assigned LocationSoutheast Correctional Center
Address300 East Pedro Simmons Drive, Charleston, MO 63834
Assigned Officer Phone Number(573) 683-4409
Sentence SummaryLife W/O Parole
Active OffensesMURDER 1ST DEGREE
Completed OffensesMURDER 1ST DEGREE
AliasesChristopher L Simmons

Christopher Simmons Other News

This case, which originated in Missouri, involved Christopher Simmons, who in 1993 at the age of 17 concocted a plan to murder Shirley Crook, bringing two younger friends, Charles Benjamin and John Tessmer, into the plot.

The plan was to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim, and tossing the victim off a bridge. The three met in the middle of the night; however, Tessmer then dropped out of the plot. Simmons and Benjamin broke into Mrs. Crook’s home, bound her hands and covered her eyes. They drove her to a state park and threw her off a bridge.

Once the case went to trial, the evidence was overwhelming. Simmons had confessed to the murder, performed a videotaped reenactment at the crime scene, and there was testimony from Tessmer against him that showed premeditation (he discussed the plot in advance and later bragged about the crime). The jury returned a guilty verdict.

Even considering mitigating factors (no criminal history, sympathy from Simmons’ family, and most significantly for the later appeal, his age), the jury nonetheless recommended a death sentence, which the trial court imposed.

Simmons first moved for the trial court to set aside the conviction and sentence, citing, in part, ineffective assistance of counsel. His age, and thus impulsiveness, along with a troubled background were brought up as issues that Simmons claimed should have been raised at the sentencing phase. The trial court rejected the motion, and Simmons appealed.

The case worked its way up the court system, with the courts continuing to uphold the death sentence. However, in light of a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002), that overturned the death penalty for the mentally retarded, Simmons filed a new petition for state post conviction relief, and the Missouri Supreme Court concluded that “a national consensus has developed against the execution of juvenile offenders” and sentenced Simmons to life imprisonment without parole.

The State of Missouri appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case. (Donald P. Roper, the Superintendent of the correctional facility where Simmons was held, was a party to the action because it was brought as a petition for a writ of Habeas corpus.)

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