Louisiana man guilty in 2018 death of LSU basketball player
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man has been convicted of murder for the fatal shooting of a Louisiana State University basketball player during a 2018 street brawl in the state’s capital.
Dyteon Simpson, 23, of Baker, was found guilty of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence, in the killing of Wayde Sims.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the jury of eight women and four men worked extremely hard on a very emotional case. The panel deliberated for about 90 minutes before handing up Monday’s verdict.
“This was by far not an easy case,” he said. “We’re happy for the family that they received justice.”
Simpson was represented by the East Baton Rouge Parish public defender’s office, which rested its case without calling any witnesses.
“It’s a loss for both sides, two lives lost,” Lisa Parker, the parish’s chief public defender, said afterward.
Simpson will be formally sentenced June 13.
Authorities said Simpson shot Sims, 20, in the face with a 9 mm pistol after Sims intervened during a fight to defend a friend outside a fraternity party just off the Southern University campus on Sept. 28, 2018.
Simpson was arrested in Sims’ killing while riding in the front passenger seat of his girlfriend’s car the next day. A 9 mm pistol found under that seat matched the bullet recovered from Sims’ body and a shell casing recovered from the shooting scene, prosecutors said.
The jury saw three videos of the fight and shooting for the first time Friday. Prosecutors replayed those videos Monday before they rested their case.
Sims’ parents, Wayne and Fay Sims, gave prolonged hugs to prosecutors Jermaine Guillory and Michelle Lacoste after the jury’s unanimous verdict was announced, The Advocate reported.
Before the verdict, Lacoste displayed a photograph of a smiling Sims for the jury and argued that Simpson could not claim the defense of justifiable homicide.
“Inserting yourself in a fight with this gun makes you the aggressor,” she said.
Sims, she added, was not the aggressor because he was trying to defend a friend.
“The family of Wayde Sims deserves justice; the community and the state demand justice,” Lacoste said.
Sims’ father, Wayne Sims, played basketball at LSU in the late 1980s, when Dale Brown was coach.