The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 29, 2012

2012: The Valley in Review



Jury: Sims guilty of murder

Killer, 50, to get life behind bars

Nov. 1. Lewisburg. After openly disagreeing with his defense team throughout his seven-day trial in Union County, Roderick Sims was convicted Wednesday of felony second-degree murder in the slaying of Charity Spickler four years ago and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Sims, 50, didn’t visibly react to the verdict delivered by the seven-man, five-woman panel, but later dismissed his conviction as unjust.

“It was an all-white jury. It was an injustice here,” he said, vowing to appeal as deputies led him away in shackles. Sims is black and Spickler was white.

Through his attorney, Michael Dennehy, Sims asked President Judge Michael H. Sholley to set aside the verdict based on his claim of prosecutorial misconduct by Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson and the “corrupt process.” Sholley denied the motion. Sims was found guilty of the Sept. 27, 2008, fatal shooting of his estranged fiancee inside a 55 S. Water St. apartment in Lewisburg and will be sentenced Friday morning. Felony second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.

He was also convicted of burglary and two counts of terroristic threats for breaking into the apartment and threatening two others, Lorraine Reed, of Northumberland, and Eric Hitchcock, of Harrisburg, with the 38-caliber revolver he used to kill Spickler, 27, after catching her in bed with Hitchcock.

EX-PSU president charged in cover-up

Nov. 2. Harrisburg. The “conspiracy of silence” that protected Jerry Sandusky extended all the way to the top at Penn State, prosecutors said Thursday as they charged former university President Graham Spanier with hushing up child sexual abuse allegations against the former assistant football coach.

Sims gets life without parole

Nov. 3. Lewisburg. Roderick Sims was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole, following Wednesday’s guilty verdict in his trial for the murder of Charity Spickler.

It’s been four years since Spickler was murdered, and Union County’s courtroom reflected that with families and friends of both sides full of emotion and tears. Sims was found guilty of the Sept. 27, 2008, fatal shooting of his estranged fiancee that took place inside a Lewisburg apartment. Felony second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.

“I’ve rarely, if ever, seen anyone with such an extreme level of anger, gross self-pity and lack of remorse,” President Judge Michael Sholley said in handing down Sims’ sentence. “To say I’m appalled at the gross lack of remorse is an understatement. ... You killed someone and never apologized.”

Sims also received concurrent five-year sentences for his convictions of burglary and two counts of terrorist threats. He also was ordered to pay restitution of about $6,800 to Spickler’s family through Pennsylvania’s Victims Compensation Assistance Program.

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