TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma woman charged with slashing the corpse of her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend during a funeral viewing has been ordered to stand trial, a Tulsa judge ruled Friday.
Special Judge David C. Youll found that prosecutors had presented enough evidence against 27-year-old Shaynna Sims for her to be bound over for district court arraignment later this month.
Sims, who is jailed without bond, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of unauthorized removal of body parts from a body, larceny from a person, knowingly concealing or receiving stolen property and first-degree burglary. A district judge ruled in July that Sims was competent to stand trial, meaning she's able to understand the charges against her and is able to help defend herself.
Prosecutors called 12 witnesses who slowly pieced together how Sims allegedly earned the trust of those closest to the deceased woman by assuring family and friends that she was a skilled makeup artist who wanted to help prepare the victim's body for a funeral viewing.
But instead of helping, the friends testified, Sims removed body parts from the victim, stole her shoes and slashed the woman's face.
"She had makeup and lipstick smeared all over her face; her hair was just all over the place," the victim's mother, Charlotte Wheeler, testified as she choked back tears.
Two employees at the funeral home also described their grisly finds.
Funeral director Robert Gardner testified that two girls came into his office during the viewing claiming someone "pulled a glob of hair" from the dead woman and left it on the floor. Lawrence Hutchings, a security and maintenance manager at the parlor, testified that the victim's breasts and a toe had been removed. Hutchings told the court the body parts haven't been found.
Sims was arrested at the dead woman's apartment after attending the viewing April 30. Police say Sims was carrying a knife with the victim's hair on it.
Wearing an orange jail uniform and shackled at her wrists and ankles, Sims occasionally took notes on a legal pad during Friday's testimony.
Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Tanya Wilson said the victim's family is still grieving, especially over how Sims tried to win their trust with an ulterior motive in mind.
"They just want closure," Wilson said.
Sims' mother declined to comment after the ruling. Chad Greer, Sims' attorney, said he'll attempt to develop evidence to fight some of the charges.
"She is still cloaked with the presumption of innocence, just like we all would be," Greer said.