ALLENDALE, S.C. (October 16, 2021) – A 31-year-old Allendale woman has been sent to prison for killing two neighbors in the parking lot of her apartment complex in mid-day stabbings in March 2020.
Paulette Sims was found guilty Thursday of murdering Carolyn Cook, 44, and Bobby Heath Jr., 57. An Allendale County General Sessions jury also found Sims guilty of possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime.
She was sentenced to 38 years in prison for each of the murders and five years for the weapons charge. The sentences are to be served concurrently.
“Ms. Sims attacked two neighbors without provocation and continued to assault one of her victims after she likely was already dead,” said Julie Kate Keeney of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “This attack was so brazen and so savage, it would be difficult to believe it took place had some of it not been captured on video.”
Allendale Police were called to Oakland Apartments at about noon on March 1, 2020, after receiving a report of an assault in the complex parking lot. Officers arrived while the attack was still in progress. An Allendale County Sheriff’s deputy responded, as well.
The officers arrived to find Sims on top of Cook, who lay lifeless in the parking lot. Sims continued to stab Cook and probe her wounds with her fingers. The officers had to use a Taser to subdue Sims, and their dashboard and body-worn cameras captured the final moments of her attack.
Heath lay a short distance away from Cook, with a single stab wound to his heart. He died on the way to the hospital. Cook was stabbed three times and suffered lacerations of her pulmonary artery and lung. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators discovered that the attack began when a handicapped man, who was a roommate of Cook and Heath, walked outside their apartment and saw his acquaintance, Sims, “just lying in the road.” Concerned something was wrong with her, the man suggested Sims go back to her apartment. She then retrieved a knife from her apartment and charged at the man.
When Cook intervened, Sims stabbed her instead. Heath then came to Cook’s defense, and Sims stabs him as well. He collapsed while trying to return to his apartment.
The S.C. State Law Enforcement Division assisted local authorities in the investigation.
Sims’ criminal history included misdemeanor offenses in Florida.
Keeney called 17 witnesses during the four-day trial.
Circuit Court Judge Courtney Clyburn Pope handed down the sentence.
Keeney is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit. The team prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable people.