A registered sex offender accused of killing his girlfriend’s son begged for the death penalty and asked Las Vegas Metro police detectives to shoot him before he was taken into custody.
That’s according to the arrest report for 35-year-old Cory Simmons, who was charged with murder by child abuse after the toddler died Feb. 16 at University Medical Center.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office on Tuesday identified the boy as 2-year-old Orlando Andre Morris Jr. The cause of death has not been reported.
Prior to his arrest, Simmons told police he was babysitting Morris and the boy’s two sisters while their mother, Denisha Jackson, was at work.
“She entrusted her children with a person she just met recently, and started a relationship,” said Metro Police spokesman Jay Rivera.
Originally from Illinois, Simmons said he met Jackson online and moved to Las Vegas in January to live with her and her children at their home on Rose Tree Lane, near Mount Hood Street and Lake Mead Boulevard.
“It was just strange that something like that happened right here, because they never seemed like they were a violent family,” said neighbor Ivan Mata.
Police later learned Simmons was arrested for murder in Illinois in 2003, but the charges were dismissed. He was also registered as a sex offender after being convicted of attempted criminal sex abuse of a person under 17 in 2008.
Neighbors told us on, and off camera that Simmons kept to himself, and they didn’t know of his prior arrests. A search for Cory Simmons did not return any results in Metro’s online registry.
According to Simmons’ arrest report, Morris was put to bed with his sisters just before 10 p.m. Simmons said he then picked the boy up and took him out of the room.
The boy later started to cry, according to police, although Simmons could not explain why he removed Morris from the bed or what made him cry.
“Simmons would not maintain eye contact and was shaking uncontrollably while answering questions,” police wrote in the report.
Simmons maintained that the boy started to choke after he was given chocolate milk, police said, but the interview was cut short when Simmons asked to have an attorney present during questioning.
Doctors at University Medical Center noted in the arrest report that Simmons’ story was not consistent with what would cause a toddler to stop breathing after drinking liquid.
The doctor also observed anal bleeding on Morris’ body, although no immediate signs of trauma were found, according to police.
As detectives continued their investigation, they noted that a plate of food and a sex toy were found in a crib in the master bedroom.
According to the report, Simmons asked to speak with a detective again and wanted to know what charges he was facing.
When he was told he wasn’t under arrest, “Simmons responded by saying that if he was going to be arrested he wanted to get the death penalty,” according to the report.
Simmons then changed his story, police said, and admitted that after feeding the crying child chocolate milk and circus peanuts, he “put his right hand on Orlando’s throat and pressed down for ‘two to three minutes.'”
When he removed his hand, the boy’s arms were jerking by his sides and he threw up, according to the arrest report.
When the interview ended, Simmons was arrested.
According to police, he denied touching Morris or the other children in a sexual manner, but asked a detective “to shoot him several times and stated that he wanted to get the death penalty repeatedly.”
“He’s in jail, and hopefully he stays there for the rest of his life,” Mata said.
Simmons is due in court Wednesday morning.