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Woman Who Says Postpartum Psychosis Was Reason For Murders Of Two Infant Daughters Gets Paroled
Paula Sims reportedly admitted to killing her 13-day-old daughter Loralei Sims in 1986, as well as her 6-week-old daughter Heather Sims in 1989.
An Illinois woman convicted of killing her infant daughter, and who reportedly admitted killing another child years earlier, is free after being granted parole.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board board granted Paula Sims, 62, parole on Thursday in a 12 to 1 vote, the Associated Press reports.
“This was a great victory for women, a great relief for me and a great gift to Paula,” her attorney, Jed Stone, told the Belleville News-Democrat. “It is a recognition that postpartum psychosis is real and the women who suffer from that mental illness need to be treated and understood and not brushed aside with having the ‘baby blues.’”
Stone has long argued postpartum psychosis was to blame for the deaths Sims' daughters — 13-day old Loralei Sims in 1986 and 6-week-old Heather Sims in 1989. A jury convicted Sims in 1990 for the first-degree murder of Heather, and she received a life sentence. While the mother was only convicted in Heather's death, she ultimately admitted to killing both, according to the News-Democrat.
Recent changes in Illinois law have made it so postpartum psychosis and depression can be considered as mitigating factors in sentencing, the Associated Press reports.
Sims was released on Friday, KSDK reports.
While no one attending last week’s parole hearing in person objected to Sims’ release, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine sent a five-page letter to the review board “strenuously” opposing it, according to the Associated Press. He said Sims lied about her crimes for years and only confessed for selfish reasons, mainly to dodge the death penalty. Sims initially claimed that an intruder broke in and kidnapped the girls in both cases.
Stone, who has been filing petitions for a new trial and clemency for three decades, maintains that his client deserved to be free.
“This woman is not a violent person. She’s not an evil person. She’s a person who suffered from a mental illness. And that mental illness is gone,” Stone told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Sims had about 20 supporters at last week’s hearing, which lasted about three hours.