BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — In 2017, a Bay County man shot his girlfriend five times in front of her three young children.
On Friday, a jury found Larry Sims guilty as charged for all counts against him.
The two-day trial started on Thursday as the court heard from the victim, Topeka Wells, her two oldest children, the responding Parker Police officer and more. The jury also saw dashcam footage and scene photos.
The state rested their case against Sims Thursday evening.
On Friday, the defense called multiple witnesses themselves.
Those witnesses included law enforcement who investigated the scene, neighbors of the victim and even Wells’ father, Devon Wells, Sr.
On that day over two years ago, D. Wells said he was on his way to work when he decided to just make sure things were okay at Topeka’s home.
He testified he knew Sims and Topeka had gotten into an argument and ‘felt like something happened.’
When he arrived at her home near Parker Elementary, he saw nothing but blue lights.
D. Wells said, “I asked the police how I could get to my daughter’s house. That’s when he asked me ‘who is your daughter?’ I said ‘Topeka Wells’ and he said ‘well, she just got shot.’
Wells was able to pick up his three grandchildren who were safely inside a police car and they all went to the hospital to check on his daughter.
Before the jury was released to deliberate, both attorneys were able to address the jurors one last time.
According to State Attorney Peter Overstreet, the children not only witnessed the shooting but also helped in trying to prevent anything from happening.
“He kicked in the door that they tried to barricade to keep Larry Sims out. He went into the master bedroom after kicking in that door and drug Topeka Wells out by her hair.”
The night before, Wells and her kids placed different pieces of furniture in front of the front door as well as her bedroom door.
Sims was facing one count of burglary against him but his attorney, Doug White says that charge should’ve been dropped.
“A lot of time we spent on trying to prove that Larry D. was actually just a one time, once in a while he’d stop by and sleep here. He lived there. That was his home. You can’t burglarize your own home.”
During her testimony on Thursday, Topeka Wells stated that Sims’ name was not on the lease but he was living in the home. She did say though, she did not want Sims at the home the night of the shooting.
After only about an hour of deliberations, the jury brought back a verdict of guilty as charged.
Sims is charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted felony murder, burglary and attempted second-degree murder.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30.
The Honorable Dustin Stephenson presided over the case.