UPDATE: Cortez Sims' sentencing hearing delayed a second time - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Cortez Sims' sentencing hearing delayed a second time

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A sentencing hearing for Cortez Sims has been pushed back for a second time. 

The 20-year-old was set to be sentenced last week but that was delayed when he filed a motion requesting a new trial. 

Late last week, Sims' attorney, Lee Ortwein, filed a motion asking for permission to withdraw from the case. 

In the motion, Ortwein cites various accusations made by Sims about his lawyer. 

Sims was convicted in April for first-degree murder in a 2015 shooting.

He has yet to be sentenced for the three other counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a deadly offense. 

This is the second time Sims has requested a new lawyer. 

It’s unclear when the new sentencing hearing will be set.


PREVIOUS STORY: A jury deliberated for nearly 8 hours before coming to a guilty verdict on five charges in the Cortez Sims case. 

Sims was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Talitha Bowman case, attempted first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder of Bianca Horton, and attempted first-degree murder of Marcell Christopher, and guilty of a firearm. Christopher was the intended target the night of the Bowman murder. 

The judge ordered Sims to life in prison. Sentencing has been set for May 22. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Jurors are deliberating in the first-degree murder case against Cortez Sims. 

The jury made up of eight women and six men received the case around 3:00 Friday afternoon.

Sims looked confident in a white shirt and brown tie as he smiled and waved to friends and family the morning of the fourth day of his trial.

For the first time, we heard the 19 year old's voice when he took the stand to tell the judge he would not testify on his own behalf. 

The day took a surprising turn when the defense rested it's case without presenting any evidence or calling witnesses to the stand. 

The prosecution's closing arguments hinged on recordings identifying Sims as the shooter that cold January night in 2015. 

Those recording becoming more important to the case after one witness was murdered and another too afraid to testify.

Lawyers say proving premeditation is the hardest part of a first-degree murder case which is why the state spent so long breaking down a year-long feud between gangs leading up to that night. 

Prosecutor Kevin Brown calling the unintended targets-- Talitha Bowman, Bianca Horton and baby Zoey-- collateral damage. 

"They were in the way of [Sims] gang beef. He knew Talitha saw him, he knew she let him in, so he killed her," Brown said.

Sims' fate now rests in the hands of a jury.

If convicted, Sims faces life in prison with the possibility of parole. 

Friday makes it the fourth day the jurors from Hamilton County have been sequestered.


PREVIOUS STORY: As the murder trial for Cortez Sims entered the third day on Thursday, recorded audio testimony from now deceased mother Bianca Horton described the shooting that claimed the life of Talitha Bowman.

Cortez Sims's murder trial for the 2015 death of Bowman began Monday, and the jury has been sequestered for the duration of the trial. They won't be allowed access to internet, cell phones, or the media.

Video from Chattanooga police body cameras has been allowed in the case.

Horton was fatally shot in an separate shooting, believed to be gang-related. Her then one-year-old daughter Zoey was injured in the 2015 shooting for which Cortez stands accused.

That 2015 shooting claimed Bowman's life and injured three others, including young Zoey.

Follow @MichelleWRCB on Twitter for live updates as this trial continues.


Thursday's testimony took another twist as Marcell Christopher, the man who was shot and identified Sims as shooter on a Chattanooga police body camera took the stand.

Christopher, clad in a jumpsuit as a federal inmate, refused to testify, telling Judge Barry Steelman he doesn't know anything.

The judge told Christopher he'd be held in contempt for refusing to testify.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this developing story.

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