The Sins of the Father-Ronald Gene Simmons

Those of us with significant others have all had these moments. We sit back, relax and think about how much we love our partner. We envelope ourselves in the joy that comes from simply being together. You not only reminisce about the blissful moments you’ve had together but in gleeful anticipation you dream about joyous moments the future has yet to bring. Equally as common, we’ve all had those times that we sit back and think about all of the stupid shit your partner has done. As if cued by an unseen director, your partner walks in, just as your thoughts of past dumb shit culminate. You look over to your partner and think to yourself, “ I could really just choke the shit out of this bitch.” At this point, your partner, curious about your stare; normally asks the question, “What’s wrong?”  Just as quickly as the thought came, it leaves; you laugh to yourself and respond, “nothing” and everyone goes on about their day. For most of society this was a joke, a comedic look at a common occurrence in relationships. However, domestic violence is not a joke. It is a parasite that eats at the relationship fabric until the union itself is consumed and destroyed. Domestic violence is responsible for a great many of the deprave acts that occur in society.

Ronald Gene Simmons 2
Ronald Gene Simmons

Born in Chicago on July 15, 1940, Ronald Gene Simmons moved with his family to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1946. After a basically normal childhood Simmons dropped out of high school in September of 1957 and joined the U.S. Navy. Stationed at the Bremerton Naval base in Washington Simmons met Bersabe Rebecca “Becky” Ulibarri. After a three year courtship, Simmons and Ulibarri were married in New Mexico on July 9, 1960 and in eighteen years the couple had seven children. Simmons served his country for 20 years, from 1957 to 1963 in the Navy and from 1965 to 1979 in the U.S. Air Force. During this time Simmons was awarded a Bronze Star Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross for his service as an airman, and the Air Force Ribbon for Excellent Marksmanship. In November of 1979 Simmons would retire from the Air Force as a Master Sergeant.

In 1979 the Simmons family resided in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. After his retirement neighbors began to notice a change in Ronald as well as the Simmons family as a whole. People in town had actually begun to fear the Vietnam veteran.  Visitors to the Simmons home noticed that he always had a beer in his hand. Friends of the Simmons children told their parents that he would stay in one particular room in his home. The room was described as dark, spooky and foul smelling.

On April 3, 1981, the Department of Human Services began investigating Ronald Simmons citing allegations that he had participated in sexual relations with his seventeen-year-old daughter, Sheila. On more than one occasion visitors to the home witnessed him giving her more than friendly kisses good-bye each morning.  Eventually Sheila told a school Counselor she was pregnant with his baby. When notified of the impending investigation Simmons packed his family up and fled first to Ward, Arkansas in late 1981 and then to a tract of land that he would name “Mockingbird Hill.” In Dover, Arkansas in the summer of 1983. Charges, though filed, were soon dropped when the Simmons family disappeared.

While in Arkansas, the Simmons household remained largely uneventful until 1987, as far as child molesting incestuous homes go. Simmons worked a string of low-paying jobs in Dover and the nearby area. After acquiring a position as an accounts receivable clerk at Woodline Motor Freight, (probably the best job of them all) he soon quit after numerous reports of inappropriate sexual advances. He went to work at a Sinclair Mini Mart for approximately a year and a half before quitting on December 18, 1987. It was December in 1987 when the proverbial shit hit the fan.  On December 22, 1987, Ronald Gene Simmons decided to methodically kill each and every member of his family. Simmons went out to the local Wal-Mart bought a .22 caliber handgun, went home, then bludgeoned and shot his wife Becky as well as their son Gene. He then strangled his three year old daughter. After knocking back a cold when he dumped the bodies into a pit the he’d had his kids dig days earlier.

As the other children came home he informed them of gifts that had for them. The catch was that he wanted to give them their gifts one by one. The first to receive their “gift” was 17 year old Loretta.  She was beaten, strangled, then drowned in a rain barrel. Oddly, the next three of his children, Eddy, Marianne and Becky received the exact same gift. Again, he placed these bodies out in the pit.

Billy Simmons, the eldest Simmons’ son, his wife Renata and their son Trae arrived on December 26th for an after Christmas dinner. Ronald killed his son and bride by shooting them and drowned the child. Sheila Simmons arrived later that evening with her husband Dennis McNulty and two children; Sylvia the child she bore from Ronald, and Michael. Once again the adults were shot and the kids were drowned. Unlike the first four, the adult bodies were then lined up neatly in the lounge room of Simmons’ house. Each body was covered with coats except the corpse of Sheila. Her body was covered with the best tablecloth. The little bodies of the two grandsons were wrapped in plastic sheeting and left in abandoned cars at the end of the lane. Feeling that he had accomplished enough for the day Simmons stopped by Sears to pick up previously ordered Christmas gifts.

Simmons spent the next two days drinking beer and thinking of others that comprised his wicked hit list. On the morning of Monday December 28th Simmons stopped by Wal-Mart and bought a second gun. Next he drove into town to pay the local law office of Peel, Eddy and Gibbons Law Firm a visit. Once inside the first person to greet him was receptionist/secretary Kathy Kendrick, a woman he blamed many of his problems on. Previously he had made periodic sexual advances to Kathy during his visits into the office, all of which had been ignored. Expecting his usual come-ons Kathy thought nothing of it when Ronald showed up. This time however was different, this time Simmons proceeded to shoot Ms. Kendrick to death. While in town he stopped by the offices of the Taylor Oil Company where he shot and wounded his former boss Russell Taylor. While there Simmons shot and killed former co-worker J.D Chaffin. Two more victims would be injured by Ronald Gene Simmons’ wrath before this day was over.

After being arrested by Russellville police Simmons was sent to the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock for a competency evaluation by staff psychiatrist. Dr. Irving Kuo found Simmons to be sane and capable of standing trial. On May 12. 1988 Simmons was found guilty of the murders of Kendrick and Chaffin. On May 16 Judge John Samuel Patterson sentenced Simmons to death by lethal injection plus 147 years. Simmons was found guilty of fourteen counts of capital murder in the deaths of his family members on February 10, 1989. On March 16, 1989 Simmons was sentenced to death by lethal injection. To expedite his execution, Simmons waived all rights to appeal in both trials. Arkansas governor Bill Clinton signed Simmons’ execution warrant on May 31st 1990 and on June 25th 1990 Ronald Gene Simmons was put to death by lethal injection. This case was the quickest sentence-to-execution-to-death time in United States history. None of Simmons’ existing family members would claim his body therefore Simmons was buried in a paupers’ plot at Lincoln Memorial Lawn. Still today it is unknown what made Simmons embark on his murderous rampage.

Ronald Gene Simmons
Ronald Gene Simmons
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