Valdosta shooting death trial set to begin

| February 8, 2017

VALDOSTA – The trail of a Valdosta man charged in the August 2015 shooting death of Damaria Hill is set to begin Wednesday morning.

Eric Simmons has been charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to reports.

On August 17, 2015, Damaria Hill, 18, suffered a gunshot wound to the head at a residence in the 2300 block of Caldwell Drive. She later died at a Florida hospital.

Valdosta Police Department investigators quickly determined Simmons was the main suspect. At the time, Chief Brian Childress said his officers had “absolutely, positively” identified the shooter.

“This all started over a dispute that the victim might have had a relationship with a female. It turns out that wasn’t the case, but a confrontation took place, and that’s how the gentleman lost his life,” Childress said.

Simmons turned himself in to authorities in Hillsborough County, Florida just hours after Hill had died.

The incident was loosely connected to another shooting death that occurred a day later, Childress said. Anthony Barber, 25, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds behind a vacant home in the 1700 block of Ricardo Street. Timothy Jerome Wiggins Jr. was arrested in connection with that shooting.

Simmons’ trial begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Lowndes County Judicial Complex.

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