By Monica Land
PARCHMAN – For the third time this month, the Mississippi State Penitentiary has executed a death row inmate, in what Commissioner Chris Epps said is the “cause for justice…”
Forty-nine-year-old Gary Carl Simmons was pronounced dead Wednesday, June 20, at 6:16 p.m. after the state-mandated execution by lethal injection.
Mississippi’s governor Phil Bryant declined to stop the execution as did the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Simmons was convicted of killing Jeffery Wolfe who came to collect a drug debt, cutting up his body and raping a friend of the victim’s on Aug. 11, 1996.
Officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) said Simmons ate breakfast at 5:36 a.m., which consisted of scrambled eggs, ham, Frosty Flakes cereal, a biscuit, milk and coffee.
Simmons only ate the eggs and drank the milk and coffee.
For lunch at 10:54 a.m., Simmons was offered a meatloaf patty, rice, salad, cornbread, gravy and punch. He ate all of the salad, half the meatloaf and drank half the punch.
MDOC officials said he made a few phone calls to his family and guards outside his cell said Simmons mood was “somber” and he was not talkative.
For his last meal, Simmons requested one medium thin crust Super Supreme Pizza Hut pizza with a double portion of tomato sauce, mushrooms, onions, jalapeno pepper slices and pepperoni. He also requested 10 packs of parmesan cheese, 10 packs of Ranch dressing, one family size bag of Doritos, nacho cheese, sliced jalapeno peppers, two large strawberry milkshakes, two Cherry Cokes, one super-sized order of McDonald’s French Fries with extra ketchup and mayonnaise and two pints of strawberry ice cream.
Simmons declined a shower and he did not want a sedative.
Court records show that on Aug. 11, 1996, Jeffery Wolfe and Charlene Brooke Leaser drove to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from Houston, Texas. They later went to Simmons’ home.
Leaser testified that she heard Simmons and another man, his ex-brother-in-law Timothy Milano, talking to Wolfe in the kitchen when she heard gunshots and saw Wolfe fall to the ground. Simmons and Milano owed Wolfe between $12 and $20,000.
Wolfe had been shot with a .22 caliber rifle.
Simmons questioned Leaser and tied her hands and feet together and put her in a metal box – similar to a large footlocker – near his bedroom.
When he returned, Simmons took Leaser from the box, raped her and put her back in the box.
Court documents further said Simmons, a butcher, disposed of Wolfe’s body by cutting it up in his bathtub and scattering it in the bayou that ran behind his property using a boat he borrowed from his neighbor.
Leaser managed to escape from the box and ran next door to a neighbor’s house to call police.
Simmons’ trial began on Aug. 25, 1997, and four days later, the jury found him guilty of all charges. For the kidnapping and rape, Simmons was sentenced to separate life sentences. A separate sentencing hearing was held on the capital murder conviction and the jury found unanimously that Simmons should suffer death.