Los Angeles Times ran a story about a mass slayer who abused his wife and impregnated his daughter, dated December 30, 1987. The piece is filled with accounts from the relatives of Rebecca Simmons.

At the time of the publication, her husband was “accused” of having an incestuous relationship with his 15-year-old daughter, making her pregnant, and the worst mass murder of a family in U.S. history.

Rebecca herself was 46-year-old back then. She had seven children and four grandchildren; they were all murdered. The husband, Ronald Gene Simmons, was the suspected killer.

When the story came out, Simmons had already been in custody for two days. The suspicion turned out to be true. Simmons killed his wife, two sons, three daughters, and one granddaughter on December 22.

His rage went on until December 28, killing nine more people. Ronald Gene Simmons was ultimately sentenced to death for every murder he had committed and executed by lethal injection on June 25, 1990.

He has been dead for more than three decades now, but his murderous rampage will remain as one of the most heinous in criminal history.

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10 /10 Enlisting To Navy

Ronald Gene Simmons was born to Loretta and William Simmons on July 15, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois.

His father died before he turned three, then, within a year, his mother remarried to William D. Griffen, a civil engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Over the next decade, the stepfather would take the family to several transfers across central Arkansas.

When Ronald was 17-year-old, he dropped out of school and joined the Navy instead. Ronald’s first station was Bremerton Naval Base in Washington.


9 /10 Decorated Soldier

At a USO dance hall, he met his future wife and murder victim, Rebecca Ulibarri. They were married in 1960. Over the next 18 years, they had seven children; three sons and four daughters.

Ronald left the Navy in 1963, then joined the Air Force about two years later. He retired from military service in November 1979 with the rank of master sergeant.

During his time in the military, Ronald was awarded the Air Force Ribbon for excellent marksmanship, the Republic of Vietnam Cross, and a Bronze Star.



8 /10 Incest Charge

In 1981, the Department of Human Services in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, subjected him to an investigation of an alleged incestuous relationship with his 17-year-old daughter.

Ronald fathered another child with the daughter. He fled to the city of Ward in Lonoke County, Arkansas, for fear of arrest. Then again, in the summer of 1983, Ronald moved to Dover in Pope County.

He took a job as an accounts receivable clerk at Woodline Motor Freight. After numerous reports of inappropriate sexual advances, however, he quit. His last job was at Sinclair Mini Mart before retiring on December 18, 1987.

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7 /10 Killing Spree Began

Not one week after quitting the job, Ronald bludgeoned and shot his wife on December 22. He also killed his oldest son Gene (29), who was visiting that day, similarly.

The next victim was his three-year-old granddaughter Barbara whom he strangled to death. Their bodies were found in the same shallow pit.

When the school bus arrived and dropped off his younger children – Loretta (17), Eddy (14), Marianne (11), and Rebecca (8) – Ronald killed them too by strangulation and drowning in a rain barrel. The bodies were all buried in the same pit as the other three.

6 /10 After Christmas Dinner

The older Simmons children William (23) and Sheila (24), along with their families, visited on December 26 for an after-Christmas dinner.

William was the first to arrive with his wife Renata (21) and their twenty-month-old son Trae. Ronald shot his son and daughter-in-law, leaving their bodies by the dining room table.

Ronald killed the child by drowning, then hid the body in the trunk of a car behind the house.

Sheila was next to arrive with her husband Dennis (33), daughter Sylvia (7), and twenty-one-month-old son Michael. Ronald killed them all. Sylvia was Ronald’s daughter/granddaughter.

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5 /10 Strangers And Acquaintances

On December 28, Ronald drove Gene’s car to Russellville and purchased a gun from Walmart. He made a stop at the Peel, Eddy, and Gibbons Law Firm, where he killed Kathy Kendrick.

The next stop was Taylor Oil Company, where he killed Jim Chaffin. Ronald then went to the Sinclair Mini Market, where he had worked. There he shot and wounded two employees.

The last stop he made was at the Woodline Motor Freight Company. He shot and wounded his former supervisor in the building. Ronald held a worker at gunpoint and told her to call the police.

4 /10 Psychiatric Evaluation

When Russellville police arrived at the scene, Ronald did not resist arrest. He was taken for a psychiatric evaluation at the Arkansas State Hospital and found capable of standing trial.

Ronald Gene Simmons was first tried for the murders of Kathy Kendrick and Jim Chaffin in Russellville. He was found guilty of capital murder in both cases.

Judge John Samuel Patterson sentenced him to death by lethal injection plus 147 years of imprisonment on May 16, 1988.

After the sentencing, Ronald even requested that his execution be carried out expeditiously and no appeal be taken.

3 /10 Violent Rage In Court

On February 10, 1989, in the Johnson County Circuit Court, Ronald Gene Simmons was found guilty of 14 counts of capital murder in the deaths of his family members, including his wife, three sons, four daughters, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, two grandsons, one granddaughter, and one daughter/granddaughter.

During the trial, prosecuting attorney John Bynum presented an undated note that indicated a love/hate relationship between Ronald and his daughter Sheila.

Ronald punched Bynum in the face and unsuccessfully struggled for a deputy’s handgun. Ronald was again sentenced to death on March 16, 1989.

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2 /10 Death Row

Ronald refused to appeal both his death sentences. Other prisoners believed his refusal to take any action would play a part in damaging their chances to appeal their death sentences.

His life was constantly threatened while on death row to the point where he had had to be separated from other prisoners.

Ongoing legal proceedings concerning his refusal to appeal had prevented Ronald from being executed following the first sentencing.

He watched TV and ate what he thought would be his last meal when the announcement of his stay of execution came out.

1 /10 Second Execution Warrant

Governor Bill Clinton signed Ronald’s second execution warrant on May 31, 1990. The warrant ordered the execution to be carried out on June 25.

It was the quickest sentence-to-execution time in the U.S. since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

He was executed by the method he had chosen, lethal injection. On the day of execution, Ronald refused all visitors, including clergy and legal counsel.

No surviving family members claimed his body. He was buried in a potter’s field at Lincoln Memorial Lawn in Varner, Lincoln County.

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