Metro-East News

The estate of Paula Sims’ son could get nearly $1M. Here’s what she’s done about it.

Friends talk about Randall Sims

Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, who attended church with Randy Sims and Aaron Myers, who knew Randy Sims since he was four or five and later became his youth pastor at Center Grove Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville talk about Randy Sims.
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Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, who attended church with Randy Sims and Aaron Myers, who knew Randy Sims since he was four or five and later became his youth pastor at Center Grove Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville talk about Randy Sims.

Paula Sims, the Madison County mother who is spending life in prison in connection with the deaths of her two newborn daughters, has waived her rights to her son’s nearly $1 million estate.

She has signed a formal waiver releasing any claims to his estate, according to records in a Madison County probate case.

On June 20, 2015, Robert Sims, 63, and Randall Sims, 27, died when their sport-utility vehicle, a Jeep, was forced off an interstate overpass in Mississippi. Robert Sims was the ex-husband of Paula Sims, who was convicted of the murder of her infant daughter Heather in Alton in 1989 and hiding the death of another daughter, Loralei, three years earlier. The prosecution’s theory was Paula and Robert Sims did not want daughters. Randall Sims was her sole surviving child.

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Randall Sims

David C. Laurent, the attorney for Robert Sims’ new wife, Victoria, could not be reached for comment. Laurent, in court documents, argues that the estate should go to Victoria.

Yolanda McNeely, the driver of the white Volvo that clipped the Sims’ Jeep, was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. She pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and is now serving a 20-year prison sentence in the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“At the time of the incident, the at-fault driver had no liability insurance, but the vehicle in which the Sims were riding was insured ... and Robert and Randall Sims have a potential claim against (the insurance company),” probate court records stated.

The documents ask the court to approve a $900,000 payment from the Sims’ insurance carrier.

Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler, who attended church with Randy Sims and Aaron Myers, who knew Randy Sims since he was four or five and later became his youth pastor at Center Grove Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville talk about Randy Sims.

Laurent has asked the court to name Victoria Sims as the sole heir to Robert Sims’ and Randall Sims’ estate.

“The natural mother of Randall Sims, Paula Sims is currently incarcerated and has assigned all her rights and interests in any claim to proceeds involving Randall Sims to Victoria Sims,” the attorney stated in his request.

Paula Sims signed an affidavit releasing her claims on Aug. 16, 2016.

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Illinois Department of Corrections shows Paula Sims, who was convicted in 1990 in the deaths of her two baby daughters and serving a life sentence. AP

Paula Sims, now 57, became national news after she claimed in 1986 that a masked gunman took her infant daughter Loralei from the Sims home in Brighton. Three years later, she claimed that a masked gunman took her infant daughter Heather from the Sims’ new home in Alton.

Both babies were found dead shortly after their reported disappearances.

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Provided News-Democrat

Sims was convicted by a Madison County jury on Jan. 30, 1990, on first-degree murder charges for the death of 6-week-old Heather. Paula Sims said the baby was taken from the bassinet by a masked gunman. Heather’s body was found six weeks later in a trash bin in West Alton.

Paula Sims pleaded guilty three months later to charges that she obstructed the investigation into the death of 13-day-old Loralei in 1986. Loralei’s body was found in the woods near the Sims’ Brighton home.

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Heather Lee Sims was born March 18, 1989, and when she was 6 weeks old her mother reported her taken by a masked gunman, just like her sister three years before. Paula Sims was convicted of the baby’s murder and sentenced to life in prison on Feb. 1, 1990. Paul Sims later admitted to drowning both baby girls. Provided News-Democrat

Paula Sims faced the death penalty, but jurors opted not to sentence her to death because of lingering questions about Robert Sims’ role.

Paula Sims told the author of a tell-all book — which included accounts of her childhood sexual abuse, the death of her older brother, marriage to Robert and bouts of postpartum depression — that she drowned both Heather and Loralei.

She is serving life without parole at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln. She is 56.

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Funeral director Dave Smith carries Heather Sims’ casket on May 10, 1989, before she is buried next to her sister, Loralei, in the Woodland Hill Cemetery near Wood River. Parents Paula and Robert Sims are behind the man in the hat. Brad Kellerman News-Democrat

In a petition for clemency, Paula Sims said Randall Sims nearly met the same fate as his sisters when he was 3 months old.

“Before I knew it, I snapped and laid him down in the playpen and yelled at him to be quiet, and then I threatened him, he quit crying immediately. His eyes got big and he just stared at me. I quickly picked him up, held him closer me and told him I was so sorry, I didn’t mean it,” Paula Sims wrote in the petition.

She added, “I believe it was this sudden adrenaline rush and Randy’s reaction along with actually hearing me threaten him which brought me out of postpartum depression/psychosis. Just enough to save Randy from the terrible fate of his sister.”

Robert Sims divorced Paula Sims shortly after she was convicted. He retained custody of Randall Sims.

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Robert Sims, left, and Paula Sims. BND file photo

Robert Sims and Randy Sims remained in the Holiday Shores-Edwardsville area. Robert Sims married Victoria.

Randall Sims graduated high school, then Lewis & Clark Community College, then Greenville College. He taught at Collinsville Christian Academy for two years before his death. Randall Sims also worked at the Greenville Public Library. A church pastor has said Randall Sims — deeply religious — was working on forgiveness for his mother, whom he never saw after she went to prison.

Father and son were headed on a mission trip with their church when the crash happened.

A Madison County judge will decide the probate case May 17.

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