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Simmons Execution Stayed Again

March 30, 1989

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The execution of convicted mass murderer R. Gene Simmons, who has said he wants to die, has been blocked a fourth time.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday became the fourth court to stay Simmons’ execution by lethal injection.

Simmons has been convicted by two juries of 16 murders, including 14 members of his family, and the wounding of four others.

″Let the torture and suffering in me end,″ Simmons said after his first conviction. He has declined to appeal.

But courts have allowed others to intervene and succeed in efforts to block his execution.

The most recent postponement came March 15 from the U.S. Supreme Court on the eve of Simmons’ last scheduled execution date. The nation’s highest court ruled upon the petition of death row inmate Jonas Whitmore, who contends a review is mandated in capital cases.

Gov. Bill Clinton then set April 5 as a new execution date. But the appeals court Wednesday decided to delay the execution to allow time for consideration of issues raised in both sets of killings.

The bodies of 14 relatives were found in and around Simmons’ home near Dover. The family victims included Simmons’ wife, children, two of the children’s spouses, and four of Simmons’ grandchildren.

Officers went to the home after Simmons surrendered on Dec. 28, 1987, following a 40-minute shooting spree in Russellville in which he killed a woman who had complained about his amorous advances and a man who apparently was shot when he chanced upon Simmons’ rampage.

Meanwhile in Russellville, officials suspect arson in a fire which destroyed Simmons’ vacant former home.

″There’s no electricity, no gas, no utility connected to the house,″ said Dwayne Luter, the fire marshal. ″Nothing there to start the fire accidentally.″

The home has been hit by vandalism since it was left vacant after authorities completed their investigation in early 1988. The house was sold at auction to the woman from whom Simmons bought the property.

An anonymous caller tipped officials at Russellville on Wednesday that the house was on fire, said Ormond Peters, a dispatcher for the Pope County Emergency Medical Service.

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