Tear gas brings murder suspect out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tear gas brings murder suspect out

In happy times- Simms with the mother of his children, who he's accused of murdering. In happy times- Simms with the mother of his children, who he's accused of murdering.

August 24, 2007

Albany -- A suspected Albany killer was caught Thursday evening after a police stand off in Florida during which he stabbed himself.   Tear gas was used to drive Earnest Simms out of house at East Point where he was holed up.  

Simms had a warrant out for his arrest for stabbing his girlfriend Jessica Acres and had apparently fled to Florida to hide out.

While Albany Police and SWAT scoured Albany for Earnest Simms, he was making his way to a secluded home in East Point Florida, not far from St. George Island.

The owner, Odessa Conley, was shocked when Simms pulled up. "I hadn't seen him in probably three years," Conley said.

Conley was unaware Simms had fatally stabbed his girlfriend Jessica Acres the night before in Albany. Simms told Conley he was looking for a mutual friend named Horace to do some fishing.

She invited him in, and the two chatted. "He said he was hungry and wondered if I had cooked. I said 'I hadn't cooked anything but I have cake,' so he said 'Can I have a piece of cake?' and I said 'sure.'"

Inside the house, Simms made a phone call to the man named Horace, but it was Horace's return call that alarmed Odessa Conley.

He said 'Get Shaq and get out of there, because I just got a phone call saying that he killed a girl," Conley said.

Conley and her 14-year-old son Shaq calmly excused themselves and went next door to a neighbor, who happens to be a Florida State Trooper. They called 911 and the Sheriff's office surrounded the house, with Simms inside.

Major Chester Creamer of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office says, "[We] Tried to talk him out of the house, but he wouldn't respond. We did see the curtains move a couple of times. We continued trying to talk with him through the intercom on the patrol vehicles and he wouldn't acknowledge us."

The stolen Chrysler Concord in the driveway was enough confirmation for police. After an hour and a half standoff, they used tear gas to drive Simms from the home.

"We gassed the house and after about three to five minutes, he came crawling out of the front door fell in the front yard," said Creamer.

Simms had stabbed himself once in the chest with a large kitchen knife and sliced his wrist. After he was stabilized, he was air lifted to a Tallahassee hospital where he underwent surgery, and where remains, with a guard posted outside the door.

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