Court Denies Bond for Sims, Jr. While Ga. Supreme Court Decides on New Trial

A man convicted of murder in Stephens County in 2012 will stay in jail while courts determine whether he gets a new trial.

Court officials report that Steve A. Sims, Jr. of Toccoa was denied bond at a hearing Wednesday in Stephens County Superior Court before Judge Chan Caudell.

Attorneys for Sims, Jr. had asked for bond for their client while the Georgia Supreme Court ultimately decides whether to grant Sims a new trial.

Sims, Jr. was convicted of felony murder and other charges in September 2012 and sentenced to life in prison with the opportunity of parole in connection to the March 2012 death of Shawn Hancock of Toccoa during an altercation the two men had at Sims, Jr.’s South Sage Street home.

Judge Caudell granted a motion for a new trial for Sims in May, agreeing with arguments from Sims, Jr.’s attorneys that Sims received ineffective trial counsel because his attorneys did not object to the prosecution’s comments on Sims’ pre-arrest silence and failure to come forward, comments Sims’ attorneys call improper.

However, the Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office has appealed Caudell’s order granting a new trial to the Georgia Supreme Court, arguing that the comments were not improper and that it was a matter of trial strategy for the trial counsel about whether to object to the comments when they were made.