Purvis woman found guilty of 1st-degree murder, receiving stolen property in Lamar Co.

LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) – A Purvis woman was found guilty on two charges in connection to a body found in a freezer in Lamar County.

According to 15th Circuit Court District Attorney Hal Kittrell, 40-year-old Samantha Simmons was found guilty by a Lamar County jury of first-degree murder and receiving stolen property after a three-day trial.

In 2018, Simmons was charged with the murder of 54-year-old Thomas Burns, who was found in a freezer inside his home. Burns was reported missing on May 21, 2018, but he was found in the freezer a day later by a family member and neighbor.

Kittrell said Burns was dating Samantha Simmons at the time when she allegedly choked him to death with a zip tie, tied his wrists and ankles together with zip ties and placed him in a chest freezer in his home. Over the course of a month, Simmons allegedly sold off most of Burns’s vehicles and personal property until his neighbors and brother discovered his body in the freezer.

An investigation revealed that Simmons had the key to a padlock that had been placed on the freezer and her DNA was on the zip ties on Mr. Burns’s body.

Simmons was arrested and charged with grand larceny after Burns was found dead, and she was in custody when charged with murder.

Three other people were also arrested in connection to the murder.

In 2019, Judge Anthony Mozingo set her bond at a total of $50,000 on the murder charge and two other charges.

A grand jury indicted Simmons on Aug. 24, 2022, on receiving stolen property and first-degree murder. The trial began on Monday, Sept. 19, and a verdict was reached on Wednesday evening.

Kittrell said Simmons will face sentencing on Friday, Sept. 23. She is expected to be sentenced to life imprisonment for first-degree murder and up to 20 years for receiving stolen property.

“We are looking forward to sentencing tomorrow in this case so that this family can finally have some amount of closure,” said Kittrell.

“This case took some time to get to trial due to the lengthy investigation necessary in homicide cases and the advent of the pandemic. We are working diligently in my district to resolve all the backlog of cases, with a concentration on the cases involving victims.”

Kittrell said his office has resolved seven homicide cases and many other violent crimes so far this year.

“We certainly will not slow down with this mission to convict violent criminals in Lamar County,” said Kittrell. “We greatly appreciate the excellent work of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department in this case.”

This story will be updated when more information is provided.

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