On July 28, 1977, Vincent Simmons was convicted of the attempted aggravated rape
of twin white girls, Karen and Sharon Sanders, and sentenced to 100 years in prison.
He has been at Angola prison for thirty-three years. He was convicted purely on
the basis of the flawed and contradictory testimony of the two alleged victims and
their cousin, Keith Laborde. There was no physical evidence of any kind against
Vincent, in fact no physical evidence that the rapes ever actually occurred. The
twins picked Vincent out of a line-up in which he was the only one handcuffed after
openly stating that all black men looked alike to them. Vincent has been the subject
of three documentary films and has maintained his innocence since his arrest.
There is no physical evidence
that the rapes actually happened. The alleged victims waited two weeks to report
the alleged rapes. No forensic tests were carried out on the clothing of the alleged
victims, Vincent's clothing or the car in which the alleged rapes took place.
The doctor's report did not find any signs of injury on either of the alleged victims
and stated that one of the twins was a virgin two weeks after the alleged rapes.
The doctor's report was not shown at the trial excerpts from the letter sent from
F.P. Bordellon Jr., M.D. to district attorney Mr. J. Eddie Knoll on June 10, 1977,
regarding examination of one of the alleged victims in the Vincent Simmons case.
"She admits never having had intercourse before this? There was [sic] no bruises
on her body. The vaginal examination showed that the hymen was intact and I was
unable to insert one examining finger."
Vincent was convicted on the basis of the flawed and contradictory testimonies of
the two alleged victims and their male cousin. In the police reports, the twins
said that a black man attacked them. They said they did not know his name. In court
the twins and their cousin all said the attacker had told them his name before attacking
them and that his name was Simmons.
The twins stated that they would not be able to pick their attacker out of a line-up
because all black men looked the same to them. They later picked Vincent out of
a line-up in which he was the only one handcuffed.
The police investigative reports did not include one single lead pointing to Vincent,
yet he was picked off the street and charged with the crime. Two reports by the
same police officer written twenty-four hours apart give two completely different
locations as the place of arrest.
There is no indication that the police, at any point, had an official interview
with Vincent or that he gave any sort of statement. However, when Vincent was arrested
and taken into interrogation, a police officer, who was related to Keith Laborde,
shot Vincent in the chest, nearly killing him. The officers present stated that
Vincent had disarmed one of the officers, said ?You will never take me alive,? and
pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. They said he continued dry firing and
then Officer Laborde shot him.
Vincent was never charged with any crime related to this and it was not mentioned
in trial. Vincent has
maintained from the beginning that the officer?s shot him because he would not confess.
The arresting police officers never testified in court.
Not only did the shooting threaten his life, but Vincent was originally charged
with two counts of aggravated rape, punishable by death at the time of accusal.
Only after the US Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty in Coker v. Georgia,
433 US. 584 on June 29, 1977, did the prosecution quickly amend the charges to aggravated
Even though the state?s case at trial were the actual rapes of both of the Sanders
No pre-trial motions nor investigations by defense counsel were made.
Vincent has several documents of evidence that he was not aware of at trial. Nor
was the jury or Vincent?s defense counsel aware of this evidence at trial.
Vincent has been trying to win an evidentiary hearing for decades, but no state
has ever afforded him one.