The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 29, 2012

Psychiatrist: Sims killed in heat of passion

LEWISBURG — Roderick Sims shot and killed Charity Spickler in a heat of passion after seeing her in bed with another man, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Clarence Watson testified Monday in Union County Court.

An extremely agitated Sims, who opposes the defense strategy of involuntary manslaughter due to his mental state, interrupted the Philadelphia defense expert several times.

“He is speculating,” Sims blurted out at one point.

The 50-year-old claims he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs on Sept. 27, 2008, and accidentally shot and killed his estranged fiancee and the mother of his three children at her friend’s 55 S. Water St. apartment.

Undeterred by blood tests that show he was not intoxicated the night of the shooting, Sims told President Judge Michael H. Sholley he’s upset defense attorneys John McLaughlin and Michael Dennehy, of Danville, aren’t listening to him and continue to pursue a defense strategy he disputes.

Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson contends Sims was angry with Spickler for leaving him and meant to kill her. He is seeking a felony second-degree murder conviction, which carries a life sentence.

Prosecution witnesses Kevin and Donna Gray testified last week that Sims threatened to shoot Spickler in the head just days before the slaying.

The threats didn’t sway Watson’s position that Sims, who he diagnosed as having a narcissistic personality disorder, killed Spickler in a rage that erupted suddenly when he looked in the window of the first-floor apartment and saw her topless in bed with Eric Hitchcock.

“He flew off the handle. He was reacting to what he saw,” said Watson, testifying to what Sims told him about the shooting.

Hitchcock testified last week that he was giving Spickler a back massage on the bed for about 15 minutes before Sims broke down the back door of the apartment, tore the bedroom door off the hinges and confronted them with a revolver.

Watson said his opinion about Sims’ immediate violent reaction would change if he’d been watching them through the window for a prolonged period of time.

Though Sims denied in his testimony that he saw Spickler and Hitchcock on the bed while admittedly peeking through other windows of the apartment, his mother took the stand and said that’s what set him off the night of the shooting.

Carolyn Crafton, of Paterson, N.J., testified Sims called her at 11:55 p.m., immediately after the slaying, and told her what he had done.

“Ma, I just killed Charity and I’m going to kill myself. I caught her in bed with another man,” she recalled him saying.

Sims, who was chided by Sholley for interrupting witnesses and speaking loudly during the testimony of others Monday, asked to take the stand again.

Sholley denied the request, noting that Sims was given a rare opportunity to deliver his testimony Friday in a narrative rather than the usual question-and-answer format.

“You had your opportunity,” he said.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 1 p.m. today.

1
Text Only
News
  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

  • Attorneys seek $28G more from Line Mountain in wrestling case

    WILLIAMSPORT — The legal fee issue between the Line Mountain School District and the Beattie family, which successfully sued the district to allow seventh-grader Audriana Beattie to participate on the all-male wrestling team, is not over.

    July 24, 2014

  • Driver to police: 'Just shoot me'

    WATSONTOWN — A Turbotville man has been charged with making terroristic threats and disturbing the peace after he allegedly threatened to shoot people in a bar and said he had a weapon.

    July 24, 2014

  • New panel of officers installed by CSIU directors

    MONTANDON — A new executive team was installed at Wednesday night’s Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit meeting, as the terms of the present leadership expired this month. Act 102 of 1970, which first created 29 IUs in Pennsylvania, requires  intermediate unit directors to elect board of director officers annually in July.
     

    July 24, 2014

  • Geisinger, Highmark deal moving ahead

    DANVILLE — A five-year extension of the contract between Geisinger Health System and Highmark Inc. won’t be affected by a dispute last year over Highmark allegedly undervaluing Geisinger’s health plan and charging certain plan holders more for care at Geisinger facilities.
     

    July 24, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.