CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Cortez Sims’ murder conviction was upheld after the Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville made their final recommendations on Friday.
According to the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office, Sims’ attorney’s argued that the original trial made errors including denying Sims’ change of venue request, and admitting evidence that was unrelated to the case.
Sims was found guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Talitha Bowman in 20-17.
He was sentenced to life.
Sims will also serve concurrent sentences of 25 years for attempted murder in the shooting of Bianca Horton, her daughter Zoe Horton and Marcel Christopher.
(2017): Around 10:30 pm on Friday, April 7th, a verdict was made in the Cortez Sims Murder Case.
The jury decided that Sims is GUILTY of first degree murder in the killing of Talitha Bowman.
Sims found GUILTY for another count of attempted first degree murder. This time for Bianca Horton.
He was found GUILTY a third time for using a firearm.
Judge orders that 1st degree murder carries a life sentence.
May 22 is sentencing date for the other convictions.
A criminal court jury is now deliberating the fate of Cortez Sims.
They got the case at 3 o’clock this afternoon.
Sims’ attorney surprised the court by offering no defense on behalf of his client.
Sims faces a first degree murder charge in the death of 20 year old Talitha Bowman, and the shooting of infant Zoe Horton, her mother Bianca, and Marcell Christopher.
That was in January of 2015 at an apartment in College Hill courts.
Earlier testimony from two people who were there identified Sims as the shooter.
Defense attorney Lee Ortwein made a last minute effort to have the charged dismissed, telling Judge Barry Steelman that he did not believe the state had offered sufficient evidence to convict his client.
The judge disagreed—
JUDGE BARRY STEELMAN, “He went to a place where people were located in the residence and discharged the firearm multiple times, there are a number of shell casings and projectiles that were recovered within that residence which would be indicative of not only the the intent to kill, but also premeditation.”
With that, Sims was called to the stand.
VOICE OF ATTN. ORTWEIN ” And you understand you have the absolute right not to testify if you don’t want to. Understand that? Yes.”
After Sims declined to testify, Judge Steelman asked Ortwein if there would be any proof offered on the part of the defense.
Ortwein, in what some court observers said was unprecedented, said there would not.
The prosecution then summed up its case.
KEVIN BROWN, PROSECUTOR “Everything you’ve heard, everything you’ve seen, every piece of testimony every..this week …points to one man…Cortez Sims.” “..and he unleashed hell in that apartment. He fired into the bedroom where Talitha and baby Zoe were at. Struck Talithia in the back..bullet went through her heart” “the bullet struck baby Zoe in the back.”
Then attorney Ortwein also declined to make a closing statement.
JUDGE BARRY STEELMAN “So, this trial is now concluded..except for the fact you’ve not been instructed as to the law.”
The case went to the jury at 3 pm.