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
|Offender Name||Christopher L Simmons|
|Date of Birth||04/26/1976|
|Height/Weight||5’11” / 176|
|Hair/Eyes||Blonde/Strawberry / Blue|
|Assigned Location||Southeast Correctional Center|
|Address||300 East Pedro Simmons Drive, Charleston, MO 63834|
|Assigned Officer||Phone Number||(573) 683-4409|
|Sentence Summary||Life W/O Parole|
|Active Offenses||MURDER 1ST DEGREE|
|Completed Offenses||MURDER 1ST DEGREE|
|Aliases||Christopher 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.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Christopher Simmons Now
Christopher Simmons is currently incarcerated at the Southeast Correctional Center in Missouri
Christopher Simmons Release Date
Christopher Simmons is serving life without parole
Christopher Simmons More News
3/1/2005 – US Supreme Court prohibits death penalty for juvinile killer. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Missouri Supreme Court case involving death penalty eligibility for minors. At issue was the case of Christopher Simmons, who was 17-years-old when he kidnapped neighbor Shirley Crook in 1993, tied her, and threw her off a bridge in St. Louis County. Prosecutors claimed Simmons had boasted that because of his age he could get away with killing the woman. Initially, Christopher Simmons was sentenced to death, but his attorneys argued he should not be executed because of his age at the time of the killing. The State Supreme Court agreed. It set aside Simmons’ death sentence and resentenced him to life in prison with no chance for probation or parole. The US Supeme Court has ruled the Missouri Supreme Court took the appropriate action. In making its ruling, the court has barred the death penalty for all killers throughout the country who were under the age of 18 when they committed their crimes.
8/26/03 Missouri Supreme Court resentences Christopher Simmons to life without parole. A habeas corpus proceeding from Jefferson County involving the constitutionality of the death penalty for a juvenile who committed murder in St. Louis County. It was argued Wednesday, March 5, 2003. In a 4-3 decision written by Judge Stith, the Court set aside Simmons’ death sentence and resentenced him to life imprisonment without eligibility for probation, parole or release except by act of the governor