OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska man has been convicted of beating and stabbing his aunt to death more than 10 years ago.
The jury found Charles Simmer, 35, guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the slaying of 50-year-old Joy Blanchard in her Omaha home in November 2007, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Simmer’s conviction carries a life sentence.
“It doesn’t do anything to bring Joy back. But I’m glad it’s resolved. To know that somebody did that all those years ago and was walking free — it’s kind of a scary thing,” said Detective Dave Schneider, the Omaha officer who led the cold-case investigation.
Simmer had lived with Blanchard and her boyfriend, Kenneth Langhorst, for a few months in 2005. The couple requested he move out because he was disrupting their sleep and wasn’t paying rent or buying groceries. Langhorst said the parting was amicable and Simmer moved in with his grandmother.
Blanchard was found with two knives in her neck and wounds from a spindle that was broken from a staircase. A DNA test of the spindle revealed DNA that belonged to a male member of the family.
Simmer initially resisted investigators’ efforts to collect DNA. He locked his jaw and refused to allow investigators to swab the inside of his cheek, according to authorities.
Simmer had been a suspect since Blanchard’s death, but prosecutors weren’t able to assemble a convincing case until additional DNA tests in 2016 further implicated him, authorities said.
According to court records, Simmer initially told investigators that he had been working the night of his aunt’s death, but they discovered that he hadn’t been working.
After Simmer’s arrest, a high school friend told police that Simmer told her in 2008 that he had killed someone.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com