Appeals court upholds Sims’ conviction in 2009 homicide

An argument by a Pine Bluff man that the state failed to prove his guilt in a 2009 homicide was rejected Wednesday by the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Following a trial in 2011, Deondrae Sims, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder and committing a terroristic act in connection with the death of Quincy Packard, 18.

Packard was shot while sitting in a car on July 21, 2009, and was pronounced dead at Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

Sims was sentenced to 30 years in prison on the murder charge and 10 years on the terroristic act charge, with the sentences to run concurrently, or at the same time.

On appeal, Sims argued that Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis erred when she denied a motion for a directed verdict on both charges because prosecutors could not corroborate the testimony of their witnesses with any physical evidence and failed to offer sufficient proof that Sims was the person responsible for the shooting.

Associate Justice Robert Gladwin said in the court ruling that there were two eyewitnesses who identified Sims as the person who shot Packard.

One of them, Charles Petty, testified that he was in the car with Packard and Hasani Scott when a red Ford Explorer, driven by Sims, blocked the car the three men were in and Sims began shooting from behind the car and continued shooting when the car drove away.

“I didn’t expect him to get out shooting,” Scott testified.

In the court ruling, Gladwin said the testimony of one eyewitness is sufficient to sustain a conviction.

“Furthermore, the jury is free to believe all or part of any witness’s testimony and may resolve questions of conflicting testimony and inconsistent evidence,” Gladwin said. “In the present case, we cannot say with assurance that the testimony of the witnesses identifying (Sims) as the shooter was inherently improbable, physically impossible or so clearly unbelievable that reasonable minds could not differ thereon.”

Sims is serving his sentence at the East Arkansas Correctional Facility and is due to be released in 2030.