Sims Murder Trial Headed to Jury

Jury deliberations are expected to begin this morning in the Steve A. Sims, Jr. murder trial.

Both the prosecution and defense delivered their closing statements in the trial Thursday in Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court in Toccoa.

Sims, Jr., of Toccoa, is charged with murder and other charges in connection with the death of Shawn Hancock of Toccoa back in March after an incident at Sims, Jr.’s South Sage Street home.

During his closing statement, defense attorney Gerald Griggs again argued that Sims, Jr. killed Hancock in self-defense. Griggs states that Hancock was a bully and had threatened Sims, Jr. the week before the March 10 shooting, adding that Hancock and those with him on the night of the shooting were following Sims, Jr. home, going onto his property and not leaving when asked that night. .

Following the defense’s closing statement, Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Brian Rickman argued in his closing that this shooting did not have to happen. He argues that Sims, Jr. went inside after an initial altercation with Hancock, retrieved a gun, and went back outside and continued the confrontation with Hancock, eventually shooting Hancock.

Closing statements took place following the conclusion of testimony Thursday afternoon, with the prosecution re-calling Georgia Bureau of Investigation Agent-in-Charge Brad Parks. During that testimony, the prosecution played a tape of Parks’ interview with Sims, Jr. in which he first denies knowing who had the gun, but then states that he in fact did fire the gun.

Testimony in the case began on Tuesday morning after jury selection took most of the day on Monday.

Sims, Jr. was indicted by a Stephens County grand jury in April on multiple charges in connection with the case, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.