Serial Killer: Beoria Simmons

By Chris Bunton

I recently traveled to Louisville, Kentucky where I did some research on the serial killer, Beoria Simmons.

Simmons was born in May of 1954. He was convicted of Kidnapping, Raping and Murdering three women in Louisville, Kentucky.

His fourth victim escaped and was able to identify him, which led to his arrest, and confession. He was sentenced to death on May 13, 1985.  But, that sentence was changed to life in prison, where he currently resides.

Simmons murdered 3 women, Robin Barnes, 15 on May 18, 1981, Shannon House, 29 on March 25, 1982 and Nancy Bettman, 39 on March 11, 1983. He dumped two of his victims in Iroquois Park of Louisville.

I checked out Iroquois Park, while visiting Louisville. It is a sprawling park of woods and hills, where a person could easily commit crimes or hide bodies. In the early 80’s it was probably even more secluded than it is today.

On June 11, 1983, he abducted the then, 16 year old K.D. Heaton from a bus stop in Louisville. He held her at gunpoint then took her out to Iroquois Park, pulled her out of the car and took her into the woods to rape her and kill her. She stabbed him, and made her escape.

She then went to the police. In the mean time, Simmons went to the hospital because of a stab wound. He claimed he was stabbed by people trying to rob him. But, the police were looking out for a stabbing victim because of Heaton’s story about her abduction.

Simmons was arrested and confessed on tape to the crimes. The rest of the evidence was equally overwhelming. His gun matched the bullets in the victims.

He claimed that he picked up the girls, and had consensual sex with them, but when they demanded money he shot them. But, because of his actions toward the fourth victim, it was assumed that he did the same things to the previous victims.

Kaye Barnes, the cousin of the first victim, Robin Barnes stated this about the case. 

“She (Robin) was raped, sodomized, and shot in the chest and once under the chin and out the temple,” said Barnes. “Her left wrist was broke, I guess where she was trying to get out of the car and get away from him. It took three days to find her.”

Simmons was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, he appealed the death sentence on several points. He claimed he did not have expert testimony of his mental capacity, because of his pauper status. He also question whether the jury was stacked full of people who supported the death penalty, and he questioned why several jurors were released who were black, because Simmons is black. He felt there was a racial bias, and a death penalty bias.

The prosecutors fearing that Simmons would be able to get the case overturned in court, made a deal with him. They got rid of the death sentence, giving him 6 life sentences instead. They also agreed to give him a single cell, and never move him from Eddyville prison. In exchange, he promised to stop all appeals.

Beoria Simmons is currently incarcerated at Eddyville.

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Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Poet and Blogger from Southern Illinois

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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