Mom accused of killing kids goes on trial

Sawyer Russell Simpson, left, and Carly Ashelyn Simpson

DACUSVILLE, SC (WSPA)- The trial for a mother accused of killing her two young children began Monday.

In 2013, investigators say they found Suzanna Simpson’s 5-year-old son Sawyer and 7-year-old daughter Carly shot to death in their beds in Dacusville in Pickens County.Simpson

Her husband was shot in the head.

Prosecutors say Simpson tried to shoot herself but “just couldn’t do it.”

Simpson has been charged with two counts of murder and attempted murder.

Simpson pleaded not guilty by reason of mental insanity.

Her attorney said she suffered from mental illness and had bouts of paranoia in which she believed her neighbors were drug dealers and believed that a ceiling fan was bugged.

But Solicitor Walt Wilkins said Simpson knew right from wrong when she allegedly shot her two children to death and then tried to kill her husband with the same gun.

A neighbor found Simpson slumped over in a truck after she crashed into a tree.

Investigators say she told first responders that she shot her whole family. Her young children were found dead in their beds. Her husband was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.

The tragic deaths shocked those who knew Suzanna Simpson as a devoted wife and mother who volunteered at her children’s elementary school and was a popular presence in the Dacusville community.

“Knowing that she had been at our schools with our children, thinking how awful that could’ve been if it happened at school,” Rhonda Craigo said.

Susan Burgess finds the tragedy unimaginable.

“As a mother of three and a grandmother of two, I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine,” Burgess said.

Many in the community still feel the pain and loss.

“A tragic thing like this happens and I think we all feel it,” Gary Benjamin said.

Simpson’s attorney says she was trying to kill herself when she crashed into a tree after she tried committing suicide by shooting herself but loaded the wrong ammunition in the gun.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

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