US Supreme Court won’t hear Mississippi death row inmate’s claims of ‘ineffective’ lawyer

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal from Mississippi death row inmate Robert Simon Jr., who claims he could have avoided a death sentence had his sentencing jury been told of his abusive childhood.

Mississippi authorities quickly sought an execution date for Simon, who was sentenced to death for the 1990 killing of a married couple and their 12-year-old son.

A federal judge in Mississippi dismissed Simon’s ineffective counsel claims in 2008. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision last fall. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case without comment.

The Mississippi attorney general’s office asked the state’s Supreme Court on Monday to set the execution date.

Simon was sentenced to death for the killings of Carl Parker, his wife, Bobbie Jo, and their son, Gregory, on Feb. 2, 1990. They were killed a few hours after returning to their rural Quitman County home from church services.

He also was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Charlotte Parker, the slain couple’s 9-year-old daughter.

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Simon’s conviction and in 2004 denied Simon’s arguments that he had found evidence to justify a new trial.

Authorities said the Parkers’ bodies were pulled from their burning house. All four had been shot, but an autopsy showed Charlotte died from smoke inhalation.

Carl Parker’s truck was found in Clarksdale. After an investigation, Simon and Anthony Carr were arrested in Clarksdale. Carr was convicted on four counts of capital murder and sentenced to die.

Simon had alleged in court documents that had his attorney looked into his background, he would have found a history of abuse at the hands of Simon’s father. Simon claimed his counsel’s failure to uncover this history of abuse resulted in a weak challenge to the prosecution’s case for a death sentence.

 

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