A man accused of killing 14 relatives and two other people said after he fired his last shot that “I’ve gotten everybody who wanted to hurt me,” a witness said Wednesday.
“I’ve come to do what I wanted to do. It’s all over now,” R. Gene Simmons Sr. told a woman he held hostage at Woodline Motor Freight Inc., according to Robert Wood, president of the trucking company.
Shortly thereafter, Simmons, 47, released the woman and surrendered to police officers.
The arrest ended a rampage that, police say, began Monday morning when a secretary who reportedly had once spurned Simmons’ advances was shot to death in the law office where she worked. One other person was killed and four were wounded at three other businesses before Simmons put down his handguns, police said.
Authorities then discovered the bodies of five family members at Simmons’ home near Dover, an Ozark Mountain foothills town about 13 miles north of Russellville. The bodies of nine more relatives, including that of his wife, Becky, were found Tuesday outside the home, seven in a shallow grave and two in car trunks.
Prosecutor John Bynum on Wednesday filed two counts of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder against Simmons. Bynum said he would seek to have Simmons executed if he is convicted of the capital murder charges, which stem from the Russellville shootings.
“It was a cruel and senseless act that was committed, and the death penalty would certainly be justified,” Bynum said. He said also that he would eventually file charges against Simmons in the deaths of the 14 family members.
Simmons was being held in the county jail pending a psychiatric examination at a state hospital.
John Harris, a court-appointed lawyer, said Simmons had finally broken the silence he had maintained since his arrest, but Harris would not divulge what Simmons said.
Meanwhile, Simmons’ sister-in-law, Edith Nesby of Briggsdale, Colo., said she was not surprised by the rampage.
“You don’t want to think he would do something like that, but you knew he was capable of doing it,” she told the Arkansas Gazette.
Met as USO Dance
Nesby said her sister met Simmons, now a retired Air Force master sergeant, at a United Service Organizations dance.
“She was a beautiful girl, she had her pick, and she picked that thing,” she said.
Nesby said Mrs. Simmons had been abused by her husband but would not leave him. Neighbors said the Simmons children seemed afraid of their father.
In New Mexico, where the family formerly lived, court records show that Simmons was charged with incest six years ago. The charges were dropped, but Nesby and other relatives said Simmons was believed to have fathered a 6-year-old granddaughter who was among the dead.