The reason, Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner said in court today, is because of Simms’ and Yancy’s failure to cooperate with the state in the matter.
Kenneth Westcott, the fourth person to take a plea in the case, was sentenced today by superior court Judge Alma Hinton to 36 months of supervised probation. Like defendants Jequan Kimble and Dequan Marrow Tuesday, Westcott must successfully complete Special Risk Group training and at that point will be able to switch to unsupervised probation. Jamonte Green also pled and in September received the same sentences as Westcott, Kimble and Marrow.
Because he holds a job, Westcott will not have to perform community service.
Westcott pled guilty to a count of solicitation to commit gang activity in the case.
Michael Smith, Westcott’s Rocky Mount attorney, said his 29-year client works at Perdue. “He has two young children and attended Southeast until the tenth grade. His future plans are to get his CDL (Commercial Drivers License). He’s been respectful to me and has had no problems in a year and half.”
The plea dismisses the original murder charge filed against Westcott in the case.
Evidence presented Tuesday and again today shows only Dexter Taylor and Tony Hill were armed on June 22, 2015, when Cambridge was killed after his car was boxed in by two vehicles, one driven by Simms.
Taylor took a plea to manslaughter and is serving a six-year sentence and Hill received probation for shooting into an occupied vehicle to incite fear.
Evidence presented Tuesday showed intent in the Cambridge case was not to kill him, but to incite fear due to a gang dispute.
A bullet fired from Taylor’s AK-47, however, ricocheted from the ground and went through bottom of the vehicle Cambridge was in and struck him in the back.
Werner said Westcott provided “a very detailed proffer” on the case.
Werner said Simms denied he was at the scene of the crime. “Co-defendants said he was the driver of one vehicle.”
Simms is currently in custody and is facing multiple counts of murder in the shooting deaths of four elderly people in the Glenview community in August.
He was out on bond in the Cambridge murder at the time of the Glenview case.
There was no evidence, however, Simms had a weapon or got of the vehicle during the Cambridge murder.
The events which led to the release of Simms from jail in the Cambridge case came about after his attorney filed motions asking for the release of a thumb drive which contained a recorded interview of Green discussing the matter.
The state in open court was ordered to provide the thumb drive, which implicated Simms. “The sheriff’s office was unable to provide the prosecution with the thumb drive. I can’t produce what I don’t have,” Werner said.
The decision was then made by Hinton to release Simms from custody on $20,000 unsecured bond.
Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said today, “We were unable to to produce the recording when we transferred it to a listening device because it had become damaged.”
He said, however, “We had detectives ready to testify as to what the taped recording said, not to mention other co-defendants that had given evidence in the court file as to Matthew Simms’ involvement.”
Werner said the state hasn’t determined what charge Yancy will be prosecuted under. Simms could be prosecuted as an accessory. They are expected to appear in court in December
The state hasn’t yet discussed evidence in the Glenview case with law enforcement, Werner said.