Man Convicted Of Killing Child Sparks Outrage In Derry

Discussion in 'New England' started by kwflatbed, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed Subscribing Member MC1+MC2 +MC3 109K+Poster

    Parents Say They're Upset Man Moves In Near School


    Video: Derry Debates Town Ordinances
    Video: Man Required To Register On Kidnapping Charge
    Video: Teachers Help Children Be Cautious

    Document: Letter Sent To Derry Parents
    Link: Registered Offenders Against Children

    DERRY, N.H. -- A man convicted of killing a child in 1981 has sparked outrage in Derry by moving into a home near a school in the town.

    Douglas Simmons, 47, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for strangling a Norwich, Ct., girl in July 1981. He dumped the girl's body in a storm drain, where it was later found by city workers during a routine inspection.

    Simmons served 21 years, and his parole ended on Jan. 22. Over the weekend, he moved into an apartment near the Derry Montessori School.

    Parents said they were outraged to learn from the school that Simmons had moved in nearby. Neighbor Mary Meade said she found out from her mother that Simmons moved in two doors down. She rented her apartment three months ago.

    "There's no way I would have rented a place knowing that he's right here," she said. "But, again. I'm not going to uproot my life, because that makes me a prisoner and him free."

    According to news reports from the time of Simmons' conviction, he told police that the girl, who lived in the same building as him and his wife, followed him into his apartment when he returned from drinking with friends on the afternoon of July 19, 1981.

    When the girl reached out to touch Simmons' stereo, he knocked her hand away, causing her to cry out. He then put his hand over her mouth to stifle her cries, and she slumped to the floor, apparently unconscious.

    Simmons then strangled the girl with a telephone cord. Investigators later recognized the paint along the baseboards in Simmons' apartment as similar to the paint on the cord used to strangle the girl.

    Prosecutors said Simmons then fondled the girl before disposing of her body.

    In a meeting Wednesday with Derry residents, police said that Simmons isn't doing anything wrong by moving into the neighborhood. He informed police and was added to the state's registry of offenders against children.

    "Provided that these individuals comply with all state laws and conditions of their release, if there are any, they have the same rights as every other citizen," Chief Ed Garone said.

    Simmons was required to register with the state because he was convicted of kidnapping, and the registry information does not show his murder conviction. He was also ordered to undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment and not have unsupervised contact with children under 18.

    Simmons is originally from Michigan, and he was serving in the Navy on a submarine tender at the time of the killing.

    Parents, Schools Remind Students To Use Caution

    At the Derry Montessori School, staffers said they are finding ways to remind children to stay away from strangers.

    "We walk out to the car, we greet the parents and the child, and we escort them into the school," said Donna Compagna of the Derry Montessori School.

    Compagna said plans are already in place to keep children out of danger.

    "This is really an opportunity for us to bring it to the forefront to make sure that everyone is acutely aware of where their children are and what they are doing and make sure those safety protocols are in place," she said.

    At an elementary school about a mile from Simmons' apartment, the principal and a guidance counselor went to classes on Thursday to remind children to stay away from strangers. The district sent home a letter to elementary and middle school parents telling them about their safety programs.
  2. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed Subscribing Member MC1+MC2 +MC3 109K+Poster

    Conn. Residents Recall Search For Girl Killed By Derry Man

    Local Residents Outraged That Convicted Murderer Moves To Neighborhood

    NORWICH, Conn. -- Some of those involved in the 1981 case of a man who killed a 6-year-old girl said that they thought her killer should never leave prison. But this week, he moved into a Derry, N.H., neighborhood.

    Douglas Simmons, 47, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Michelle Spencer, 6, in 1981. The girl lived in the same apartment house as Simmons and his wife did in Norwich, and she disappeared on July 19, 1981.

    "This is the small town," Norwich native Stephen Seder said. "It was the news."

    On the day Spencer disappeared, crews scoured her home, unaware that she had been strangled by Simmons, a 20-year-old Navy sailor. Over the weekend, Simmons moved to Derry.

    "I'm disgusted, and I feel bad for the people who have to worry about their children in an area where he's living now," Preston, Conn., Fire Chief Tom Casey said.

    Casey was 21 when he joined more than 100 firefighters and police in a hunt for what they hoped would be a lost but live girl. After searching all night, a worker at a pump station found her body under a manhole cover.

    "It looked like a manhole, a deep pit, as I recall, and she was in the bottom," Norwich police Lt. William Molis said.

    Simmons would later admit to sexually assaulting her body and stuffing it in a sewer drain less than a quarter of a mile from her home. Norwich police said that before his confession, Simmons actually helped in the search.

    "Later on, he went out with search parties and actively took part in searches looking for her, all the while knowing he had murdered her and had deposited the body," Molis said.

    After serving 21 years in prison and five years on probation in Connecticut, Simmons is a making a new life in New Hampshire, something Casey said he never thought would be possible.

    "When we found out they arrested someone, my thought was whoever did this didn't deserve to be out again," he said.

    News 9 attempted to contact Spencer's family but did not get a reply.

    Simmons' mother has told reporters that her son has served his time and just wants to live his life. He is registered on the state's list of offenders against children, but because of how the law is crafted, the only offense listed on the registry is his kidnapping conviction.

    Derry residents have expressed concern that he was able to move into an apartment down the street from a school.

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  3. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed Subscribing Member MC1+MC2 +MC3 109K+Poster

    Parents applaud N.H. exit by killer


    Associated Press / February 4, 2008

    DERRY, N.H. - A man who moved to New Hampshire after serving time for killing and molesting a young girl has moved back to Connecticut.
    Derry residents were outraged to learn last week that Douglas Simmons, 47, had moved into an apartment near the Derry Montessori School. He served 22 years in prison and five years on probation for killing and molesting 6-year-old Michelle Spencer in Norwich, Conn., in 1981.
    On Saturday, police said Simmons had moved back to Connecticut on Thursday. The announcement was greeted with applause at an emergency Town Council meeting, where many parents continued to press town officials to adopt rules regulating where sex offenders can live.
    "I'm glad he's gone," said Fayleen Rioux of Londonderry, who has a child at the school. "Good riddance to him."
    Some parents were surprised to learn that there were no laws precluding Simmons from living so close to a school.
    "I think that New Hampshire's very inviting to these kinds of individuals," said Julie Hesketh, who has two children at the school.
    Other parents spoke of cooperating with each other to make the community as safe as possible. Just because Simmons is gone, they said, doesn't mean they should let their guard down.
    "I think that's also like a false safety net we feel now," said parent Angela Gagne.
    Town councilors are working on a proposed ordinance that would regulate where sex offenders can live. Five communities already have such ordinances - Boscawen, Dover, Franklin, Northfield and Tilton.
    Councilor Kevin Coyle said he hopes New Hampshire lawmakers enact a statewide law so violators can face stiffer penalties. Sex offenders who violate local ordinances face only fines, he said.
  4. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed Subscribing Member MC1+MC2 +MC3 109K+Poster

    Child Murderer May Face More Charges

    Police: Simmons Did Not Notify Them Of His Move

    HARTFORD, Conn. -- Convicted child murderer Douglas Simmons may soon face additional charges.

    Connecticut State Police said Simmons failed to notify them that he was changing his address and moving to Derry.

    Simmons moved to Derry last weekend after serving 21 years in prison and completing five years on probation in Connecticut.

    Connecticut State Police said they learned Simmons had moved because they were contacted by Derry police. They said he could face two felony charges.

    Connecticut police said they believe Simmons has moved back to Hartford, Conn., but are unaware of his exact whereabouts.

    Simmons moved out of his Derry apartment and back to Connecticut on Thursday.

    In 1981 Simmons was convicted of murdering 6-year-old Michelle Spenser in Norwich, Conn. Police said Simmons strangled Spencer with a telephone cord, sexually assaulted her body and dumped her in a sewer drain.

    News of Simmons' move to Derry sparked outrage among parents in the community. In response Derry town councilors and state official scheduled an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss ordinance changes to restrict where sex offenders may live.

    Douglas Simmons, 47, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Spencer. The girl lived in the same apartment house as Simmons and his wife did in Norwich, and she disappeared on July 19, 1981.

    Simmons' mother has told reporters that her son has served his time and just wants to live his life.

    Derry residents have expressed concern that he was able to move into an apartment down the street from a school.

    Previous Stories:
  5. justanotherparatrooper

    justanotherparatrooper Pissin' in liberals cheerio's for 40 years :) Staff Member

    Simmons' mother has told reporters that her son has served his time and just wants to live his life.
    A big FU to you both....he shouldnt be wasting good air!
  6. Inspector

    Inspector Subscribing Member

    Child Sex Killer Moves Into Manchester, NH

    MANCHESTER – Convicted child killer Douglas Simmons, who tried to move to Derry from Connecticut in January -- but left after the community rallied against him -- had little to say when he answered the door of his 170 Amherst St. apartment last night.
    "I'm just trying to build a new life," Simmons said, when asked why he moved to the city. "I'm just trying to do the best I can."

    Manchester police last night confirmed that Simmons registered yesterday as an "offender against children."
    In 1981, Simmons was convicted of killing 6-year-old Michelle Spencer in Norwich, Conn. Police said Simmons strangled Spencer with a telephone cord, sexually assaulted her and dumped her in a sewer drain. Simmons admitted he had assaulted Spencer, but never was charged with that crime.

    A check of his registration by Detective Lt. Nick Willard last night noted Simmons was convicted of kidnapping. There was nothing about a murder conviction or sexual assault listed.
    [​IMG]170 Amherst St. in Manchester

    That is due to a plea deal Simmons made in his home state of Connecticut. His murder conviction does not show on the state's list of registered sex offenders against children --" even though he admitted to molesting his victim.
    Simmons, 47, moved briefly to Derry in January where he registered in New Hampshire as "an offender against children." The information, which was published by the state on Jan. 31, showed that he had pleaded guilty to kidnapping in 2003.
    But prior to that, Simmons served 21 years of a 35-year sentence in prison on a murder charge in Connecticut.
    When Simmons became eligible for release, Connecticut authorities realized they had erroneously added probation to the end of his murder sentence --" something the state does not allow.
    So in 2003, Simmons agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of kidnapping. The five years probation was meant to keep him under court supervision.
    At the time of his release, Michigan officials scuttled his attempt to move closer to his mother, who lives in Grand Rapids.
    His arrival in Derry in late January launched a firestorm. Parents packed hearings, and the town council considered an ordinance that would prohibit sex offenders from living near schools, day-care centers, playgrounds and parks.
    But the Derry Town Council killed the initiative, after Police Chief Edward Garone warned it would drive sex offenders underground. Simmons moved out about a week after moving to Derry, leaving as quietly as he arrived.
    He returned to Connecticut, where he was arrested March 1 at a shelter in Hartford for failing to verify his address there as a sex offender in 2006.
    According to court records, Simmons was found guilty Monday in Hartford Superior Court on those charges, listed as statute 54-251, "failure to register as a non-violent offender against a minor," a Class D felony, and was released on an "unconditional discharge."
    As of yesterday, the New Hampshire State Police listed 227 child sex offenders on its public registry of child-sex offenders in Manchester.
    Last night, Willard explained there is no provision in the state law to notify neighbors when someone registers.
    "After reading his registration form, this guy is a danger in my opinion and we believe immediate disclosure is warranted to ensure public safety," he said.
    In February, Manchester aldermen considered an ordinance that would have prohibited sex offenders from living near schools, parks or other places frequented by children. But Manchester police said residency requirements were not the answer, and only a small fraction of sex crimes involve people who do not know one another. Most sexual assault victims know their assailant, police stressed.
    Police at the time said they average about 15 compliance checks a week on sex offenders, depending on their case load.
    "I could not see how the board could vote against this because it's for the children," said former state Rep. Leo Pepino back in February, who pushed for the Manchester ordinance.
    Last night, Pepino called on Mayor Frank Guinta to appoint a committee to study the issue. Pepino said aldermen had directed Guinta to do so.
    Had the ordinance been in place, Simmons would not likely have been able to move into the Amherst Street rooming house, Pepino said. Victory and Bronstein parks are just a half-block away. Also nearby are the city library, Central High School and St. Joseph Regional Junior High School.
    On April 15 a bill went before state legislators that would close loopholes in the state's offender registry by categorizing offenders in three tiers --" from "peeping Toms" to murders and kidnappings involving sex assaults.
    HB1640 unanimously passed the House and was recommended for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, with an amendment regarding DNA testing .

  7. rg1283

    rg1283 MassCops Member

    Why didn't someone kill him in prison?????????????? If you kill a child you should never get out of jail if the death penalty is unavailable. IF your guilty by reason of insanity then you should never leave the state hospital for the rest of your life, unless you are A. dead or B. being transferred to the state prison.
  8. Delta784

    Delta784 Guest

    Those "people" cannot control themselves.

    He WILL do it again.

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