New curve in the twists and turns of a four-year-old murder case - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: John "Cut Throat" Simpson accepts plea deal

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: John "Cut Throat" Simpson took a plea deal on Tuesday morning and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was charged in the 2010 murder of 46-year-old Bernard Hughes. He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. Hughes was killed in the shooting that also left his friend, Tim Westfield, injured.

Simpson has been scolded for abusing the system after delaying his trial at least five times by firing attorneys at the last minute.

If the case would have gone to trial Tuesday, Simpson would have been defending himself and potentially facing life in prison. Both of his co-defendants, Harold Butler and Unjolee Moore, are serving life sentences for Hughes' murder.

Hughes' family said they wanted Simpson to get life, too.

"I'm not happy with the 25, but I'm just happy that it's over," said a tearful Berlinda Hughes. "We can finally close the door in this chapter of my brother's death."

Berlinda is Hughes' twin sister. She's been to every court date for the men accused of killing her brother, which involved a lot of ups and downs over the past four years -- especially with Simpson.

"He should've got life for a life," Berlinda said. "Of course he didn't have a gun, but he lured my brother out, so that was a big part of him getting killed."

Simpson pulled just about every trick in the book to delay his trial -- going through seven attorneys and even representing himself. He'd usually fire his court-appointed lawyer right before the scheduled trial date.

"Mr. Simpson, it would appear to me that you're doing everything in the world to keep from trying the case," Judge Don Poole told the 34-year-old back in September.

After Simpson's final attorney withdrew from the case on Monday, Simpson was set to defend himself.

"For someone who's never done it before, and may have never seen it done before, it would have been very difficult," said Asst. District Attorney Cameron Williams.

Williams explained Tuesday was the second time Simpson signed a plea deal. A couple years ago, Simpson agreed to testify against his co-defendants at trial, but backed out at the last minute.

"I've seen cases that have been drawn out before, but nothing like this," Williams said.

It's been a tough wait for justice for Hughes' twin, who will celebrate their birthday at the end of the month. It will be the fifth one without her brother here.

"It's been hard celebrating without him," Berlinda said. "I'm gonna let him know that it's over. That I have fought his fight... and he can rest now."

Simpson must serve 100-percent of his 25-year sentence. The law allows 30 days for him to withdraw his guilty plea.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: John "Cut Throat" Simpson accepted a plea deal Tuesday morning.

The terms of the deal are a plea to second degree murder, with a sentence of 25 years, since Simpleson is considered a "Range 2" offender.

Simpson must serve 100% of the sentence since this crime is considered a violent offense.

He'll also plead guilty of attempted second degree murder and serve 8 years, which will run concurrently with the first offense.


PREVIOUS STORY: A new curve in the twists and turns of a four year old murder case.

John "Cut Throat" Simpson is asking to represent himself and his attorney has asked to be taken off of the case.

Simpson's been known for delaying his trial by firing his attorney at the last minute.

His current lawyer, Mike Acuff, has only been assigned to the case for a few months..

But asked a judge to be removed from the case after claiming Simpson wanted him to do something unethical.

Acuff is Simpson's seventh attorney.

READ MORE | John "Cut Throat" Simpson's trial gets delayed

Two other men are serving life sentences for killing Bernard Hughes in 2010.

Simpson's trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Powered by Frankly