A jury found a Jackson County man guilty
Tuesday of manslaughter but not murder
in the 1996 slaying of a 15-year-old girl in the rural community of Ruch.
The jury voted 10-2 to convict William Frank Simmons of manslaughter, a charge the judge told them they could turn to if they could not reach a unanimous finding on the murder charge.
Murder indicates someone intended to kill someone. Manslaughter applies to cases where death was the result of recklessness or negligence.
Michael Bertholf, Simmons’ public defender, belittled the circumstantial case. He claimed police zeroed in on an uneducated, unsophisticated and poverty-stricken 16-year-old with a history of run-ins with the law and refused to consider any other suspects in the case, Bertholf said.
Simmons was 16 when Kaelin Glazier disappeared. He was the last person known to see her alive.
Glazier disappeared on a moonless night on Nov. 6, 1996. Her body was not found until April 2008, when a neighbor of Simmons was mowing a field and found a skull and one tennis shoe sticking out of the ground.
Dental records and a ring identified the remains as Glazier.
Experts testified her head was wrapped in duct tape and a cut on a rib indicated she may have been stabbed.
Simmons was arrested two years later.
A state police criminalist testified Glazier’s head and face had been wrapped in duct tape. The position of her body and clothing suggested she had been dragged there by her feet.
Forensic experts testified that a cut mark on a rib and marks on a wire in her bra indicated she was stabbed, and she may also have been hit in the face.
Though the duct tape was analyzed, it never turned up any fingerprints. A state police forensic scientist testified DNA found on it had not come from Simmons.