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This profile was last updated on 1/15/10  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. Erwin Charles Simants

Wrong Erwin Charles Simants?
 
Background

Employment History

10 Total References
Web References
Public Defender Bob Lindemeier, who has ...
www.northplattebulletin.com, 15 Jan 2010 [cached]
Public Defender Bob Lindemeier, who has defended Simants in that capacity for 18 years, requested a continuance because he was out of the state at the time.
...
On Oct. 18, 1975, Erwin Charles Simants, then 29, walked across the street from his house in Sutherland and killed six of his neighbors in cold blood.
Simants murdered Henry Kellie, 66, his wife Audrey, 57, their granddaughter, Florence, 10, and two other grandchildren, Deanna, 7, and, Daniel, 5.
...
The next morning, Simants surrendered to authorities.
Simants stood trial for six counts of first-degree murder in January 1976. Testimony from 24 prosecution witnesses and 11 defense witnesses lasted a week.
Simants admitted killing the Kellies.
Defense lawyers argued Simants was insane. A psychologist testified that Simants had an IQ of 75 and was schizoid and psychotic.
The jury returned a verdict after deliberating only one day -- guilty on all six counts.
On Jan. 29, 1976, Lincoln County District Judge Hugh Stuart sentenced Simants to death in the electric chair.
...
But in 1979, Simants won a new trial on grounds of jury tampering.
...
Simants pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. Defense lawyers stipulated that Simants had murdered the Kellies but argued he was insane at the time.
Prosecutors allowed a practicing psychologist to remain on the jury.
On Oct. 17, 1979, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the Kellie murders, the jury acquitted Simants by reason of insanity.
Simants was sent to the forensic unit of the Lincoln Regional Center, where he has been ever since.
...
Simants rarely attends the hearings and did not attend Wednesday's hearing in Lincoln County District Court.
Lindemeier has argued that Simants doesn't meet the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court to remain in custody and, at some point, he would "ethically have to take that up with the court."
That was a shot over the bow that Lindemeier might someday appeal to a higher court than Rowlands' to have Simants released from the confines of the LRC forensic unit.
...
Simants has been an ideal patient at the center and probably even knows where the keys are but has never acted on that knowledge, Lindemeier said.
Lindemeier said Simants has no place to go and no means to take care of himself, but not to plan for his eventual release would not be fair to him or to the general public.
For years, Simants was unable to even so much as go outside the Lincoln Regional Center, but he has gained more freedom in recent years.
Two years ago, Simants was granted the right to actually leave the center once a week, only during daylight, with no more than six other inmates, under the direct supervision of the LRC staff who would have cell phones. Also, Simants' picture is on file with the Lincoln police, the Lancaster Sheriff's office and the Nebraska State Patrol. Staffers had to notify law enforcement when he was leaving the LRC, where he was going, when he would return and what he was wearing.
Last year, Simants was granted permission to travel throughout the state but only accompanied by an LRC staff member and meeting all of the qualifications above. He can now leave the center with seven other inmates and two supervisory personnel.
Doctors who have examined Simants recently have continued to recommend fewer restrictions on Simants and more freedom.
Last year, Rowlands accepted the testimony of Simants' psychiatrists Dr. Louis C. Martin and Dr. Y. Scott Moore that Simants has been an exemplary patient for more than 25 years at the center, is not aggressive and has never sought to escape from the facilities or from any group outing.
...
Defending Simants hasn't made Lindemeier, who by all accounts is a compassionate man, many friends.
"I get hate mail all the time," he said.
...
Lindemeier said Simants has become "institutionalized" and would not be able to function in the world on his own. He said he would like to see Simants in a less supervised setting but with some kind of monitoring involved.
The only surviving Kellie family member comments
The only surviving member of the Henry Kellie family is resigned about the eventual release of Erwin Charles Simants.
...
With only two exceptions, Brown has attended every single mental health hearing held for Simants in the last 30 years.
...
"I guess at this point we have to do what's best for Simants but we also have to consider everyone else's safety," Brown said.
North Platte Telegraph - News - 10/06/2005 - Simants granted more freedom
www.nptelegraph.com, 6 Oct 2005 [cached]
> Simants granted more freedom
...
Erwin Charles Simants, who is confined at the Lincoln Regional Center, was granted a bit more freedom Thursday.Simants was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the 1975 murders of the Henry Kellie family of Sutherland.He was committed to the Lincoln Regional Center. In the annual review of Simants' status, Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands went along with a recommendation from the Regional Center staff that Simants be upgraded to a "Code 3" status.
...
Rowlands wrote, "The court finds, based upon the evidence adduced, that there is clear and convincing evidence that (Simants) is and continues to be mentally ill and is dangerous to others by reason of mental illness and that he will continue to be dangerous in the foreseeable future as demonstrated by the overt acts of Oct. 18, 1975."
...
On Oct. 18, 1975, Simants murdered six members of the Kellie family in Sutherland.
...
Rowlands' order continued, "The court further finds that the recommendation of the Lincoln Regional Center for a change of status... is expressly approved. ... In approving a change to Code 3 Status, the court accepts the testimony of Dr. Louis Martin and Dr. Y. Scott Moore that (Simants) has been an exemplary patient at the Lincoln Regional Center for more than 25 years."Code 3 status makes it possible for Simants to leave the LRC with small groups and he can go to other parts of the state.Rowlands concluded, "So long as (Simants) is kept away from alcohol and non-prescribed controlled substances, his mental illness will, in all probability, remain in remission, and his dangerousness to the community will be minimized."
North Platte Nebraska's favorite newspaper - The North Platte Bulletin
www.northplattebulletin.com, 20 Sept 2006 [cached]
In a court decision issued September 12 and published exclusively in the North Platte Bulletin last week, Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands ruled that the Lincoln Regional Center has 120 days to recommend where Erwin Charles Simants should be housed at the center.
...
Simants could be moved to a facility at the LRC with less restriction after the recommendation and Rowland's decision in three months.
...
That was a shot over the bow that Lindemeier might appeal to a higher court than Rowlands' to have Simants released from the confines of the LRC forensic unit.
...
Simants has been an ideal patient at the center and probably even knows where the keys are but has never acted on that knowledge, Lindemeier said.
...
Lindemeier said Simants has no place to go and no means to take care of himself, but not to plan for his eventual release would not be fair to him or to the general public.
...
Rowlands ruled that his previous ruling on Simants issued in October 2005 will stand until the LRC review, due in three months, is returned.
...
Anyone who says Simants "will not receive additional freedoms" simply has not read Rowland's orders or Lindemeier's arguments.
The case
On Oct. 18, 1975, Erwin Charles Simants, then 29, walked across the street from his house in Sutherland and killed six of his neighbors in cold blood.
Simants murdered Henry Kellie, 66, his wife Audrey, 57, their granddaughter, Florence, 10, and two other grandchildren, Deanna, 7, and, Daniel, 5.
...
The next day, Simants surrendered to authorities.
Simants stood trial for six counts of first-degree murder in January 1976.Testimony from 24 prosecution witnesses and 11 defense witnesses lasted a week.
Simants admitted killing the Kellies.
Defense lawyers argued Simants was insane.A psychologist testified that Simants had an IQ of 75 and was schizoid and psychotic.
The jury returned a verdict after deliberating only one day -- guilty on all six counts.
On Jan. 29, 1976, Lincoln County District Judge Hugh Stuart sentenced Simants to death in the electric chair.
...
But in 1979, Simants won a new trial on grounds of jury tampering.
...
Simants pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.Defense lawyers stipulated that Simants had murdered the Kellies but argued he was insane at the time.
Prosecutors allowed a practicing psychologist to remain on the jury.
On Oct. 17, 1979, one day short of the fourth anniversary of the Kellie murders, the jury acquitted Simants by reason of insanity.
Simants was sent to the forensic unit of the Lincoln Regional Center, where he has been ever since.
...
The Nebraska Supreme Court agreed that Simants remained mentally ill and dangerous and left in place rulings that he shouldn't be allowed to leave the regional center without one-on-one supervision and without notifying Lincoln law enforcement.
Each year Simants undergoes a mental evaluation and judicial review to determine if he is sane enough to be granted more freedom or even released.The review is required under a 1981 state statute.
For years, Simants was unable to even so much as go outside the Lincoln Regional Center, but he has gained more freedom in recent years.
Two years ago, Simants was granted the right to actually leave the center once a week, only during daylight, with no more than six other inmates, under the direct supervision of the LRC staff who would have cell phones.Also, Simants' picture is on file with the Lincoln police, the Lancaster Sheriff's office and the Nebraska State Patrol.Staffers had to notify law enforcement when he was leaving the LRC, where he was going, when he would return and what he was wearing.
Last year, Simants was granted permission to travel throughout the state but only accompanied by an LRC staff member and meeting all of the qualifications above.
Doctors who have examined Simants recently have continued to recommend fewer restrictions on Simants and more freedom.
Last year, Rowlands accepted the testimony of Simants' psychiatrists Dr. Louis C. Martin and Dr. Y. Scott Moore that Simants has been an exemplary patient for more than 25 years at the center, is not aggressive and has never sought to escape from the facilities or from any group outing.
...
The fact that Simants will gain more freedom is inevitable.But what shape that freedom will take will be decided by the court.
Nothing another lawyer wouldn't do
Lindemeier has been defending Simants for 15 years as the Lincoln County public defender.
...
Defending Simants hasn't made Lindemeier, who by all accounts is a compassionate man, many friends.
...
Lindemeier said Simants has become "institutionalized" and would not be able to function in the world on his own.
...
Electronic monitoring of Simants was discussed in the past but dismissed due to limitations at the time.
...
In his ruling released Sept. 12, Rowlands maintained that "there is clear and convincing evidence" that Simants continues to be "mentally ill and dangerous to others" by reason of mental illness.
...
Rowlands ordered the LRC to determine by December one or more options where Simants could live on the LRC grounds.
...
Rowlands said the court would then tour the facilities and the decision on where Simants would be placed could be made afterward.
...
Until the recommendation is made, Simants will remain in the restictive LRC forensic unitl.
But it's no longer a matter of if Simants will be released.Now it seems the only question is when.
The only surviving Kellie family member comments
The only surviving member of the Henry Kellie family is resigned about the eventual release of Erwin Charles Simants.
...
With only two exceptions, Brown has attended every single mental health hearing held for Simants in the last 27 years.
...
"I guess at this point we have to do what's best for Simants but we also have to consider everyone else's safety," Brown said.
Press & Dakotan - NewsSimants Deal Could Be In Jeopardy 01/31/03
www.pressanddakotan.com, 31 Jan 2003 [cached]
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A deal struck to give Erwin Charles Simants -- once convicted of the 1975 murders of six people in Sutherland -- more freedom to leave the mental hospital where he has lived for 24 years could be in jeopardy.
...
Under the deal, Lindemeier agreed to drop the appeal in return for Meyer's agreement to a protocol to make it easier for Simants to occasionally leave the Lincoln Regional Center under supervision.
But Brown said the Attorney General's office objected to the deal because it had not been informed of the agreement.
All Contents ┬ęCopyright Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan . Please read our Privacy Policy.Comments or questions?Contact the webmasters at The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan .
Simants deal could be in jeopardy 01/30/03 - theindependent.com News
www.theindependent.com, 31 Jan 2003 [cached]
LINCOLN -- A deal struck to give Erwin Charles Simants -- once convicted of the 1975 murders of six people in Sutherland -- more freedom to leave the mental hospital where he has lived for 24 years could be in jeopardy.
...
Under the deal, Lindemeier agreed to drop the appeal in return for Meyer's agreement to a protocol to make it easier for Simants to occasionally leave the Lincoln Regional Center under supervision.
But Brown said the Attorney General's office objected to the deal because it had not been informed of the agreement.
When the high court asked Lindemeier and the Attorney General's office for more information about the deal, Lindemeier withdrew his motion to dismiss, which was first reported by North Platte Television Station KNOP.
The high court then said it would reschedule the case for arguments.
...
"I'd have to talk to Mr. Simants.It's his decision," Lindemeier said."He's very frustrated right now."
...
Simants, 57, has been held at the center since a Lancaster County jury in 1979 found him innocent by reason of insanity in the shooting deaths of six members of the Henry Kellie family.
Simants initially was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.
Lindemeier argued on appeal that recent psychological examinations have concluded that Simants is no longer showing signs of mental illness.
However, Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands ordered Simants to remain at the regional center and refused to alter his restrictions, which was the subject of the Supreme Court appeal.
...
Simants had been allowed to occasionally leave the regional center under supervision a couple of times a month.But Lindemeier said the agreement would make it much easier for him to do so.
Meyer said he agreed to the deal with Lindemeier after conferring with the last surviving member of the Kellie family, Audrey Brown, and explaining that Simants could have been released if the high court had sent the case back for further proceedings.
She was an adult and living in Colorado when the murders happened.
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