ANDERSON, SC (WMBF) – No decision was made Wednesday in a hearing for reconsidering the verdict reached by a jury, or the sentence given last month in the trial of Heather Sims, the woman found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of her husband in Conway in 2013.
The judge said he will go over arguments from Sims' lawyer and the state's prosecution team presented Wednesday afternoon, and both sides have until January 10 to get any additional information to him.
Sims' lawyer filed a motion stating that the jury reached that verdict in error, requesting that the court overrule the jury's decision, or reconsider and modify her prison sentence.
The motion states that it was an error to charge Heather Sims with voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of her husband in Conway in 2013. The motion filed by Sims' lawyer, L. Morgan Martin, states that the State submitted a theory of premeditated murder, and Sims, the defendant, claimed she acted in self-defense.
"There was no middle ground between the competing theories of this case," the motion states. Martin claims that there is no evidence of an "intentional, deliberate killing that was done in a sudden heat of passion under an irresistible urge to do violence," and therefore, the voluntary manslaughter verdict was not based on evidence. The motion requests that the court overrule the jury's verdict.
"In this, we certainly take the position that the evidence doesn't justify voluntary manslaughter," Martin said during the hearing Wednesday.
During the hearing, prosecutor Nancy Livesay countered Martin's argument, saying: "She's being cussed, they're in there arguing, he's physically going to assault her…you could infer, in the heat of passion, this woman pulls out the gun and shoots him."
After two weeks of testimony, a jury found her guilty of the voluntary manslaughter charge and sentenced her to 25 years in prison on November 20, 2015. That sentence was suspended to 10 years in prison and 5 years on probation.
The motion alternatively requests that Sims' prison sentence significantly, because of her lack of a criminal history, the "non-existent likelihood of recidivism," and the extenuating circumstances, which involved "an assault on her by the deceased."
Martin also argued that 10 years in prison and five years probation is too much, and asked the judge to at least cut the sentence in half, and throw out her probation. He said that the sentence doesn't punish Sims as much as it punishes those closest to her.
"Every day the mother is away from that child, this child is punished too," Martin said.
Livesay countered, saying: "This defendant shot a 35 year old man who is never going to see that child again. That child is not going to look down at him at his college graduation or his high school graduation."
Judge Maddox told both sides he's not ready to make a decision, but will most likely shift the probation part of Sims' sentence. Judge Maddox also addressed both families involved, begging them to stop the hatred towards each other and the jurors from the trial.