Liberty County man sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting woman in front of their 13-year-old daughter in 2020, DA says

Phillip Jerome Simmons, 57 (Liberty County Sheriff's Office)

CLEVELAND, Texas – A man has been sentenced to serve life in prison for fatally shooting a woman in front of their 13-year-old daughter, according to the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office.

The jury found Phillip Jerome Simmons, 57, guilty of murdering Trena “Nikki” Jordan on April 30, 2020. Simmons was sentenced to life in prison and will be required to serve 30 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

During the two-day trial, prosecutors presented what they considered to be a clear picture of the brutal attack against Jordan at the family’s home on S. Holley Street.

Jurors heard testimony from Cleveland Police Department officers who responded to the scene, neighbors and family of the victim, as well as a firearms and tool marking expert.

The daughter testified at trial. She said her mother had returned home from visiting her aunt, who lived down the street, when Simmons confronted her. Her dad then pulled out a gun and started shooting as her mother ran toward the back door. While trying to get away, Jordan tripped on her shoes and fell. The daughter said she saw Simmons fire more shots into her mother’s back as he stood over her.

In total, police said Simmons shot Jordan with a high-caliber handgun in the back five times inside the home and three more times as she lay dying on the back porch.

The daughter ran to her aunt’s home, screaming for help, saying her “Daddy had just killed her Mamma,” documents state.

According to emotional testimony from a neighbor, Simmons never called for help or exhibited any emotion.

Simmons was caught by law enforcement three hours later, prosecutors said.

Simmons’ testimony

Simmons claimed his daughter was lying and told a different version of what occurred. He argued that Jordan pulled a knife on him in the kitchen while they were arguing and allegedly tried to kill him. Simmons said that is when he retrieved a gun from the bedroom, including a second full clip, and returned to where Jordan was standing.

Simmons testified that Jordan dropped the knife and began to flee from the home. Claiming he was in fear for his life from a now fleeing woman, Simmons began shooting at her, and continued doing so even after she was lying on the ground.

The jury was not compelled to believe Simmons’ claim of self-defense and, after approximately 30 minutes, rendered their verdict of guilty. The jury retired to deliberate and quickly returned a verdict of life in prison and a $10,000 fine.

After taking a short break, the Trial Court allowed the family and friends of the victim to speak during allocution. In a show of strength, Jordan’s sisters, nieces, friends, and daughter all spoke out.

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