Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr

Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 25 Jun 1990 (aged 49)
Grady, Lincoln County, Arkansas, USA
Burial Grady, Lincoln County, Arkansas, USA
Memorial ID 10601114 · View Source
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Mass Murderer. He committed the largest familial murder in American history. He was responsible for killing 16 people, including 14 family members. The killing spree began on December 22, 1987, when he shot and killed his wife Rebecca and son Gene at their home in Dover, Arkansas. He also strangled his three year old granddaughter, Barbara. The bodies were dumped into a pit that he had made his children dig in prior weeks. He went back to the house and waited for his children Loretta, Eddy, Marianne, and Becky to return from school. He told the children that he wanted to give them their Christmas presents one at a time, and he took them behind the house individually where he killed them by strangulation and holding their heads under water in a barrel. The killing continued on December 26, 1987 when the remaining family members began to arrive for a Christmas visit. Simmons shot and killed son Billy, daughter-in-law Renata, daughter Sheila and her husband Dennis McNulty. He strangled and drowned grandchildren Trae, Silvia Gail, and Michael. On December 28th, he drove to the neighboring town of Russellville, Arkansas and killed two acquaintances, Kathy Kendrick and J.D. Chaffin, and wounded two other people. After the shootings, Simmons asked a secretary to call the police, and he chatted with her until the police arrived and he peacefully surrendered. The Simmons family never had a telephone, so police drove to the residence to notify them of the arrest, only to find the dead bodies. Simmons pleaded guilty and resisted all appeals during the ensuing trial. He was found guilty of 16 counts of murder and sentenced to die by lethal injection. Bill Clinton, then the Governor of Arkansas, signed the death warrant on May 31, 1990. In 1991, a book titled "Zero at the Bone" by Bryce Marshall and Paul Williams was published detailing the murders, trial, and execution. The incident is also mentioned in the book "Fatal Families: The Dynamics of Intrafamilial Homicide" by Charles Patrick Ewing.

Bio by: Carey D. Hilburn Jr.

Family Members


MSgt US Air Force



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Carey D. Hilburn Jr.
  • Added: 11 Mar 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10601114
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr (15 Jul 1940–25 Jun 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10601114, citing Lincoln Memorial Lawn, Grady, Lincoln County, Arkansas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .