14th Circuit Solicitor's Office​

Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties​

Disabled woman’s killer sent to prison

HAMPTON, SC (May 6, 2019) – A 27-year-old Yemassee man who shot and killed a wheelchair-bound woman in 2015 is headed to prison.

Donald Rogers Simmons Jr., 27, pleaded guilty Monday in Hampton County General Sessions Court to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 44-year-old Melissa Lynn Rauch. Simmons was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

At about 9 p.m. Jan. 17, 2015, Rauch’s boyfriend left their Riley Street home to run an errand. When he returned about 30 minutes later, he found the front door open and Rauch slouched on the bedroom floor by her wheelchair. She had been shot in the head.

While out on bond, Simmons cut his ankle monitor and went into hiding. In May 2017, U.S. Marshalls and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office found Simmons at a Walterboro home and took him into custody.

Special Assistant Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III prosecuted the case for the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit. That team, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders, has earned convictions against 327 of the 340 defendants since the unit was formed in late 2008.

Circuit Court Judge Perry Buckner handed down Monday’s sentence.