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Demetrius Lott SIMMS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Mental retardation
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 1, 1991
Date of arrest: 3 days after
Date of birth: February 27, 1971
Victim profile: Monique Miller, 3
Method of murder: Beating with a tree branch
Location: Harris County, Texas, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 7, 1996. Resentenced to life in prison on February 28, 2007


The case of Demetrius Lamont Simms

In the case of Demetrius Lott Simms, after Mr. Simms’ attorneys claimed mental retardation under Atkins, the Harris County District Attorney’s first response was to oppose it: "Applicant fails to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he meets the first prong of the three-part definition of mental retardation"; "Applicant fails to demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he has such limitations in adaptive functioning as would satisfy that prong of the diagnostic criteria for mental retardation".

Prior to Atkins Mr. Simms had full-scale IQ test scores above 70. On August 2, 1989 (at the age of 18 years, 5 months) Dr. Orloff gave Mr. Simms the Weshsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Revised Edition (WAIS-R), and Mr. Simms attained a full-scale IQ of 71. In 1994 Dr. Nelson determined that Mr. Simms has a full-scale IQ of 66. On February 29, 1996 Dr. Lehman assessed Mr. Simms attained a WAIS-R full scale IQ of 68. Then on August 20, 1998 Dr. Nelson also tested Mr. Simms with WAIS-R, full-scale IQ 73.

On July 27-8, 2006 Dr. Denkowski administered to Demetrius Lott Simms the following: Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Weshsler Adult Intelligence Scale – third edition (WAIS-III), Dot Counting Test, Rey 15-Item Memory Test, Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory –Second Edition (BDI-II), Wide Range Achievement Test – Third Edition (WRAT-3), and Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS).

On November 24, 2006 Dr. Denkowski’s issued his assessment. Mr. Simms attained a full-scale IQ of 63 and was deficit in the five adaptive behavior assessments: communication, community use, functional academics, health and safety, and social. Dr. Denkowski provided that Demetrius Lott Simms "is mentally retarded in accord with the criteria that are applicable in Texas criminal proceedings".

In light of Dr. Denkowski’s expert examination, and in spite of other IQ scores above 70, the Harris County District Attorney re-evaluated its opposition to Mr. Simms’ Atkins claim. On December 20, 2006, the Harris County District Attorney filed Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law saying that Demetrius Lott Simms is mentally retarded and therefore exempt from execution.7 Without modification, and on the same day, the trial judge Michael McSpadden signed the Harris County District Attorney’s proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. On February 28, 2007 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed that trial court, officially commuting Mr. Simms’ death sentence to life in prison.

Demetrius Lott Simms was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 4-year old Monique Miller.



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