Ashley Morrison

Ashley Morrison

Ashley Eva Morrison is back in Lamar County Jail this morning after the Sixth Appellate Court of Appeals in March overturned her conviction and 30-year prison sentence for the 2014 murder of North Lamar teacher Annie Lois Sims.

Morrison, now 21, was 19 in July 2017 when she was handed a 30-year sentence in a Smith County court for her suspected role in Sims' death. Sims was found dead in her Powderly home with multiple gunshot wounds a week before Christmas 2014. Morrison and her boyfriend, Christian Vernon Sims, were arrested at a Motel 6 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, later that night. The teens waived extradition and were returned to Lamar County on Dec. 23, 2014.

In October 2016, Christian Sims was found guilty of murdering his 66-year-old grandmother and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

In a 41-page opinion issued in late March, the Appellate Court found the evidence against Morrison presented by the prosecution was circumstantial and that Morrison’s Sixth Amendment rights had been violated. The Appellate Court remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial.

Morrison had been confined in the Hilltop and Mountain View Prison Units in Gatesville. Until her conviction and sentence was overturned, she would not have been released until Dec. 23, 2044. She would have been eligible for parole Dec. 23, 2029.

She was detained this morning in the Lamar County Jail without a set bond on a bench warrant for murder, according to the jail's online records.

District Attorney Gary Young said Morrison will remain in Lamar County until such time that hearings and a re-trial are scheduled.

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6960 or klark.byrd@theparisnews.com.

Managing Editor

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News and the editor of Paris Life Magazine. He resides in Paris with his wife, Krystle, and their three children, Charlie, Annalise and Willow.

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