By The Associated Press
PARCHMAN — Mississippi has executed a former grocery store butcher who dismembered a man during a 1996 attack in which he raped the man’s female friend and locked her in a metal box.
Gary Carl Simmons Jr., 49, was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. CDT after an injection Wednesday at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He was condemned for the Aug. 12, 1996, shooting death and dismemberment of Jeffery Wolfe, whose body parts were found in a south Mississippi bayou.
“I’ve been blessed to be loved by some good people, by some amazing people. I thank them for their support. Let’s get it on so these people can go home. That’s it,” Simmons said as he lay strapped on a gurney in the execution chamber moments before the procedure was carried out.
Once the drugs began flowing, Simmons took a few deep breaths and yawned before going motionless.
Wolfe’s father and stepmother held hands as they watched the execution from a witness room. Simmon’s sister and his two attorneys were also present.
Simmons was the sixth Mississippi inmate executed this year. That’s the most number of inmates executed in Mississippi in a single year since eight were executed in 1956.
Simmons and his former brother-in-law, Timothy Milano, were both convicted of killing Wolfe, who drove to Mississippi from Houston with the woman to collect a drug debt estimated to be anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000, according to court records.
Simmons was sentenced to death in 1997 for Wolfe’s slaying and to two life terms on charges of kidnapping and raping the woman. Milano was sentenced to life for capital murder and 30 years for kidnaping. A rape charge against Milano was dismissed.
Authorities said Milano shot Wolfe, but Simmons planned the killing, dismembered Wolfe and raped the woman. The Associated Press does not generally identify the victims of sex crimes.
Court records describe a grisly scene in which Simmons used his knives from the grocery store butcher shop and a bolt cutter to dismember Wolfe in the bathtub. This is how those documents described the killing and the events that led up to it:
Wolfe had been providing marijuana to Simmons on consignment, Milano would sell it, and Wolfe would pick up the money.
Wolfe and his friend went to Simmons’ house on Aug. 12, 1996, to collect the debt and planned to vacation in New Orleans before returning to Texas. But Simmons and Milano didn’t have the cash.
Milano shot Wolfe with a .22 caliber rifle inside Simmons’ home in Jackson County. Simmons tied up the woman and put her in a metal box described as similar to a footlocker. At some point, he raped her, then locked her up again and cut up Wolfe’s body, the records show.
Simmons and Milano carried the pieces out in buckets and dumped them in the bayou behind the house.
Simmons subsequently drove to Mobile, Ala., where he made a videotape for his ex-wife and children. He didn’t say he killed anyone, but made statements such as, “I can’t make it undone. I would have. Oh God, I would have,” according to court records.
The next morning, the woman forced open the box and ran to a neighbor’s house. Police found bloody buckets at Simmons’ house and body parts in the bayou.
Simmons hoped to keep the woman as a “sex toy,” according to court testimony.
In the hours before the execution, Simmons’ lawyers filed a motion attempting to stop it with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Mississippi Supreme Court and the state’s governor declined efforts to block the execution during the day.
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