Pritzker grants parole eligibility to Paula Sims, convicted of killing daughters in 1980s

Paula Sims being escorted into the courtroom on the first day of her trial in January 1990 in Peoria, Ill. Photo by John Cary of the Peoria Journal-Star

Paula Sims in a 1989 file photo

March 24, 1999–Convicted murderess Paula Sims is led from the Edwardsville courtroom where she is requesting a new trial so she can admit the killing and claim post -partum depression as a defense.

MADISON COUNTY — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week granted Paula Sims, a Metro East woman who admitted to killing her two infant daughters after claiming they were kidnapped in the 1980s, a commutation that makes her eligible for parole, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday.

Sims, now 61, was serving a life sentence without parole for murdering 6-week-old Heather, whose body was found in May 1989 in a trash can by a fisherman in West Alton. Sims and her family lived in Alton at the time.

Paula Sims, serving life term for murder, who has admitted killing her two infant daughters separately, in Brighton, Ill., in 1986 and in Alton in 1989. (Illinois Department of Corrections photo)

Sims admitted after the conviction to also slaying her first daughter, newborn Loralei, three years earlier when the family lived near Brighton, Illinois. Sims was convicted of obstructing justice in that death.

In each case, Sims told investigators that a masked man swiped the infant. In her request to Pritzker for clemency, Sims said she killed both infants while suffering postpartum psychosis, her longtime lawyer Jed Stone said Thursday.

The commutation adjusts Sims’ sentence to parole-eligible, meaning she will be eligible for a parole hearing in front of the Prisoner Review Board, according to the governor’s office. At that hearing, a majority of members would have to agree to release her on parole. If that doesn’t happen, she will remain incarcerated until her next parole hearing.

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Stone said he expects to present the case at the board’s next meeting in September.

Region: Metro East,Courts,City: St. Louis, MO


March 11, 2021 at 09:25PM

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