Roper vs. Simmons

Bill of Right #8

Facts about Simmons

  • He was 17 when the crime was committed
  • He was well loved by family and friends
  • Prior to the crime, he had no criminal record
  • He was physically and mentally abused as a child
  • At a very young age he was exposed to alcohol and drugs, which lead to future problems
  • He became addicted to drugs and alcohol
  • He possibly has a mental illness (schizotypal personality disorder)

5 Things to Know about the Case

  1. He planned ahead and committed the crime when he was 17
  2. He committed the crime with one other friend
  3. He went around school bragging about the murder/robbery that he had done
  4. He was given the death penalty by the Missouri Supreme Court
  5. The US Supreme Court ruled in his favor and reversed his punishment from the death penalty

Images of Christopher Simmons

what actually happened?

Christopher Simmons had been planning a robbery, and wanted to murder someone along with it. He did not want to be given the death penalty though, so he planned and committed the crime at the age of 17. In order to commit the crime he broke into the victim's, Shirley Crook's, house and was going to rob it, but when Mrs. Crook saw Christopher knew that he had to kill her because they had recently been in contact through a car crash. In order to kill her, Simmons and his accomplice Charles tied her up, threw her into the car and drove her to the park. At the park they duck taped her entire head, rapped electrical wiring around her hands and feet and tied her up with tough string. Then, the two threw her off of the bridge and into the water. Mrs. Crook was found later in the Meramec River in St. Louis County with bruises on her body and broken ribs.

The Bill of Right in Question

Bill of Right #8

People wanted to know if he was being cruelly punished since he was only 17 when he committed the crime. People said that since he was 17 he was not old enough to be sentenced death. People protested against his death sentenced and said that he was a loving/very loved kid and that he should be able to live. It was very controversial in the court room too, because age is a very big factor when it comes to what punishment the criminal will get.

The US Supreme Court's Final Jurisdiction

The Court ruled in Simmons favor, so he was not given the death penalty. Instead he was given life without parole. Life without parole just that the person has to stay in jail for the rest of their life, and that eventually they will die in jail. So, in other words there is no way to get out.

Was the Court Right? my opinion

I personally think that they should have given Simmons the death penalty because even though he was only 17 when he committed the crime, that is still pretty close to being 18, and although he may have had a mental illness (personality disorder), it was not very severe and he was still able to think for himself. Simmons was fully capable of not committing the crime because no one was pushing him or forcing him too, it was all him. I believe that the death sentence should be given to any able bodied 17 who can plan out/commit a murder/robbery. He is not too young, and honestly how does 9 months make such a difference? He committed the crime 9 months before his 18th birthday, so would his sentence have been different if it was really just 9 months later?



  1. "DONALD P. ROPER, SUPERINTENDENT, POTOSI CORRECTIONAL CENTER, PETITIONER v. CHRISTOPHER SIMMONS." Supreme Court of the United States. N.p., 1 Mar. 2005. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.
  2. "Christopher Simmons - Juveniles - the International Justice Project."Christopher Simmons - Juveniles - the International Justice Project. Associated Press, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015. <>.


  1. Christopher as a Young Boy in a Tree. N.d. Collection of Photos of Christopher Simmons. Christopher Lee Simmons | Photos |. Web. 17 Jan. 2015. <>.

  2. One of Christopher's Mug Shots. N.d. Collection of Photos of Christopher Simmons. Christopher Lee Simmons | Photos |. Web. 17 Jan. 2015. <>.

  3. Christopher in a Blue Shirt Leaning against a Blue Wall. N.d. Collection of Photos of Christopher Simmons. Christopher Lee Simmons | Photos |. Web. 17 Jan. 2015. <>.

  4. One of Christopher's Mug Shots (with Name Plate). N.d. Collection of Photos of Christopher Simmons. Christopher Lee Simmons | Photos |. Web. 15 Jan. 2015. <>.