ALLENDALE, S.C. (WJBF/AP) – Prosecutors say a 31-year-old South Carolina woman has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for stabbing to death two neighbors in a rural apartment complex.
Investigators say Paulette Sims was still stabbing and sticking her finger into the wounds of one of the victims when police arrived at the Oakland Apartments in Allendale in March 2020.
Prosecutors say 44-year-old Carolyn Cook and 57-year-old Bobby Heath Jr. were trying to protect their roommate from Sims when they were attacked. Investigators discovered that the attack began when a handicapped man, who was a roommate of Cook and Heath, walked outside their apartment and saw his acquaintance, Sims, “just lying in the road,” according to a news release. Concerned something was wrong with her, the man suggested Sims go back to her apartment. She then retrieved a knife from her apartment and charged at the man, it added.
Heath lay a short distance away from Cook, with a single stab wound to his heart, the release continued. He died on the way to the hospital. Cook was stabbed three times and suffered lacerations of her pulmonary artery and lung. She was pronounced dead at the scene, the release stated.
When Cook intervened, Sims stabbed her instead. Heath then came to Cook’s defense, and Sims stabs him as well. He collapsed while trying to return to his apartment.
The officers had to use a Taser to subdue Sims, and their dashboard and body-worn cameras captured the final moments of her attack. “Ms. Sims attacked two neighbors without provocation and continued to assault one of her victims after she likely was already dead,” said Julie Kate Keeney of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “This attack was so brazen and so savage, it would be difficult to believe it took place had some of it not been captured on video.”
A jury found Sims guilty of murder on Thursday. An Allendale County General Sessions jury also found Sims guilty of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.