Help Free Black Man Wrongfully Convicted in 1977 Due to Fabricated Story of White Teens


Help Free Black Man Wrongfully Convicted in 1977 Due to Fabricated Story of White Teens

This petition made change with 2,540 supporters!
Tiffany Flournoy, Investigative Journalist started this petition to Office of the Governor Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and

By Tiffany Flournoy, Investigative Journalist

51 days after his arrest in 1977, following a two-day, botched trial in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, Vincent Simmons was convicted  of the attempted aggravated rapes of two white girls — twins — Karen and Sharon Sanders. 

The 25-year-old Black man from Mansura, La. was found guilty by a jury of 11 white men and a single Black woman. Simmons was sentenced to 100 years at hard labor and carted off to the Louisiana State Prison. 

Even at trial, there was no evidence of a crime presented; however, there was lots of reasonable doubt and remnants of racism. For 44 years, Simmons has maintained his innocence and there is a trail of proof to support his claim, but for four decades the powers that be have shut every legal door in the face of justice.

 In 1977, the medical examiner’s reports that would have easily proven Simmons’ innocence was withheld from Simmons’ defense. The twins claimed that they were brutally raped repeatedly throughout a May night in 1977, after a Black man kidnapped them and their 18-year-old cousin Keith LaBorde  However, medical documents at the time reflected no indication that rapes had occurred, but instead showed Sharon Sanders’ hymen remained intact. Meaning she was still a virgin despite telling authorities that she and her sister had been raped orally, vaginally and anally. Karen Sanders acknowledged to the medical examiner that she was sexually active, according to the examiner’s report.

In 2020, Simmons new attorney Justin Bonus filed legal documents in the 12th JDC requesting that Simmons’ conviction and sentence be vacated, after new evidence surfaced that the alleged victims lied about being raped. 

​In 2020, a relative of the alleged victims came forward claiming the entire 1977 story against Simmons was fabricated by the alleged victims and their cousin Keith LaBorde to cover a family secret of inappropriate sexual behavior within the family.

“This is a story you might hear when speaking of Jim Crow and the rape myth involving Black men and white women that resulted in so many tragic lynchings and wrongful convictions," said Bonus.

(CNN): Neither Laborde, who was 18 at the time, nor either Sanders sister identified Simmons by name as the suspect to the police, but they said his full name at the 1977 trial. 

THE BACKGROUND STORY (CNN): In May of 1977, Simmons, the fifth child in a family of 12 brothers and sisters, made the trek from Texas to his hometown of Mansura, Louisiana, to spend time with his family for Mother's Day… 
On May 9, the Monday night after Mother's Day, Simmons and his three friends went to a local bar where Simmons got into a fight, according to Pam Jones' alibi testimony. The police were called, but Simmons wasn't arrested. He went back to Texas and would return weeks later. But that skirmish was one of many over the course of his youth.

One of his younger sisters, Hattie James, told CNN that her brother wasn't a stranger to the local police

because he was a fighter and got into a lot of arguments with the police.

Between the ages of 16 and 19, Simmons was arrested in Louisiana for a variety of crimes, but he only served 15 months in jail for a simple burglary charge, according to his criminal history.

Two weeks after Mother's Day, Simmons would return to Mansura and on May 23, 1977, he would be arrested five miles away from his family's home.

"My life, basically, I was young, and I was wild," Simmons told CNN during a phone interview from Louisiana State Penitentiary. "I was doing stupid things, but not nothing that would want to cause anyone to want to frame me for a crime I didn't commit."

Since 1977, Vincent Simmons has maintained his innocence. For 44 year he’s been legally trying to prove it. Now, at 69-years-old, despite a series of judicial roadblocks and dead ends,  he continues to fight for his freedom from the clinches of imprisonment at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola.

Help press Louisiana officials to set him free from its broken judicial system plagued with injustice and riddled with racism, by joining the movement to free him by sharing and signing the petition.

“From the start I was and am innocent of these charges. I knew one day God would send His messengers and soldiers to aid me when he was ready. God is the Light so we are the light,” Simmons said from prison.

Truth still unfolding 44 years later

JOIN THE MOVEMENT on FB:                                      1977: The Vincent Simmons Project

1999 Doc


This petition made change with 2,540 supporters!

Share this petition