I will never forget it, forever etched in my memory as a horror unspeakable. I had just returned from living in Binghamton, NY, back to Arkansas to pursue my undergraduate degree in computer science. It splashed across the TV screen on the heels of Christmas 1987. A whole family slaughtered in Dover, Arkansas, with all the questions of WHO and WHY. Sixteen people left dead, massacred. They were murdered one by one over the days between December 22 and December 28, 1987.
Who had done this awful deed? One Ronald Gene Simmons:
What was the family secret that had led to this massacre? Incest. From the Wikipedia article about Simmons:
He shot and killed his oldest daughter Sheila — with whom he’d had an incestuous relationship — and her husband, Dennis McNulty. Simmons then strangled his child by Sheila, 7-year-old Sylvia Gail…
Simmons was tried and convicted of 16 counts of murder, and was sentenced to death. Also from the Wikipedia article:
On May 31, Arkansas governor (later President) Bill Clinton signed Simmons’ execution warrant, and on June 25, 1990, he died by the method he had chosen, lethal injection. None of his relatives would claim the body, and he was buried in a pauper’s grave.
It’s a tragic, soul-stealing story. Psychopaths are deadly for some, and family secrets are their fodder. Remember that this horror follows the media narrative of what a psychopath looks like and does. Most, though, manage to hide behind a facade of seeming normalcy, yet if you listen to what your gut is telling you and are honest with yourself, you’ll still feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing erect. And though they may appear normal to the casual observer, the damage they can and will do is still extreme. Should you be curious to know more, simply Google his name. The full details will leave you … more than a little speechless and heartbroken. Just a couple of articles:
- Mass Murderer’s Relationships with Wife, Children — Not Working, from the Associated Press.
- The Father from Hell, from the New York Daily News
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