Couple gets life in prison; wanted in 5 killings in 3 states
CHESTER, S.C. (AP) — A man and his girlfriend suspected of killing five people in three states last year have pleaded guilty to two of the killings in South Carolina and been sentenced to life in prison without parole, authorities said.
Tyler Terry and Adrienne Simpson each pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and numerous other charges Wednesday in Chester County, according to media reports.
Prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty in any of the five killings as long as the couple also pleaded guilty to two shootings near St. Louis, Missouri, and another in Memphis, Tennessee. All five deaths happened in May 2021, investigators said.
Terry, 27, said nothing in court other than to answer questions about his guilty plea, while Simpson apologized to the families of the victims, which included her estranged husband.
Simpson, 34, said she was heartbroken over what happened and wished she could turn back time. Her lawyer said Simpson has struggled with abusive relationships.
Police began looking for Terry last year after he fired at an officer who tried to talk to him when he was parked at a closed restaurant. The officer kept chasing him with a bullet hole in her SUV’s windshield, authorities said.
Simpson was arrested at the end of the chase, but Terry managed to avoid more than 300 officers looking for him over seven days in one of the largest manhunts law enforcement could recall in South Carolina.
The couple pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing Simpson’s estranged husband Eugene in Chester County and Thomas Hardin in York County on the same day in May 2021.
Terry and Simpson then ended up in Missouri 13 days later where prosecutors said they shot and killed Sergei Zacharev during a robbery in a restaurant parking lot in the St. Louis suburb of Brentwood. They then killed Barbara Goodkin as she sat in her car with her husband in University City, authorities said.
Goodkin’s husband was also shot, but investigators said the bullet hit his cellphone, which may have saved his life.
Two days later, Danterrio Coats was found shot to death near a car with its emergency flashers on in Memphis, said investigators, who think he was also robbed.
Prosecutors in South Carolina said their counterparts in Tennessee and Missouri also agreed not to seek the death penalty against either Terry or Simpson as long as they plead guilty in those states, too.
The couple will serve their life sentences in South Carolina prisons after they are sent to the other states to admit to the crimes, authorities said.