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1998 - August - Stephanie Pepper, English instructor at Louisiana Tech
meets David Sims, a local accountant, who had also been
a student of her father's. Six months of dating leads to marriage.
David Sims "She was attractive, talented, intelligent. She just had everything,"
1999 - February 27 - David Sims and Stephanie Pepper marry.
Barbara Pepper "It wasn't very long before Stephanie told me there were problems in
the marriage. David set up separate bank accounts and she had to keep separate receipts.
She didn't like that."
David Sims agrees that he "went over receipts for everything, admits he is "rigid and could
be controlling," and that "it could drive his wife a little nuts."
2001 - David Sims "About two years into the marriage, we stopped communicating, and
started sleeping in separate beds."
"I remember one time she said something about being lonely. And I said, "Boo,
'I'm right here." And she said, "David, we can be in the same room together
and I can still be lonely."
2002 - November 20 - Stephanie confides in Ginger Steward, her friend, telling her
Ginger Steward "I think she had always done everything by the rules, exactly the way
that she was supposed to do it, that everyone expected her to do,
and I think she did want something exciting."
Finals week at Louisiana Tech - Stephanie, who doesn't drink, joins Ginger at Stowe's
Bar in Ruston, La. for a chat. A man named Wayne Guidry Jr. sits down and introduces
Ginger Steward "Stephanie seemed fascinated with Guidry. She seemed to really
like him and he seemed to really like her too."
"He said he was a professional golfer and he was on his off-season from that so he was
hunting. I thought he was sort of a smooth-talking guy and I just didn't like that."
"Guidry swept Stephanie off her feet. She had told me that they had spent pretty much
the whole weekend together."
A week after meeting Wayne Guidry, Jr,, Stephanie Sims tells David, her husband, that
she wants to separate.
Thanksgiving - Stephanie tells David she wants to separate.
David Sims "She said, 'David, I lived with mom and dad. Then I met you and I
moved in with you." She said, 'I have never learned how to stand on my own
two feet.' And when she said that, I got it,"
David still hopes to save their marriage but he helps her move into her own apartment.
Stephanie Sims has left out a detail. The real reason she wanted a separation
was another man....Wayne Guidry.
Ginger (Stephanie's friend) "It was Wayne's idea. I think he definitely pushed her
to do that. She wouldn't have done it so quickly on her own."
Stephanie and David remain in contact, but she lies to him to cover up her affair.
Barbara Pepper "I knew only that Stephanie had a new friend and I don't think it was
anything more than a friendship."
David Sims "We were sitting together on the couch and she got a call on her cell
phone and it was a man's voice. And I asked her who it was and she said, it was
Ginger. It was clear to me it was a male voice."
"I found another man's hat in the trunk of Stephanie's car.It was a golf hat.And I
I asked, 'Well, who's is that?' And she said, 'Oh, that's Daddy's.' I knew it wasn't
her dad's, but I didn't question it."
David & Stephanie occasionally attend church together and speak on the phone. Usually
their conversations turn to "when was she was going to come home?"
Five weeks after meeting Wayne Guidry Jr., Stephanie Sims disappears.
2003 - January - 3 - Sunday - David and Stephanie Sims attend church and stop at
Walmart and the local Citgo before Stephanie drops
David at their home.
David has accepted the fact their marriage might be
ending in divorce. But that morning Stephanie asks
David "Would be willing to go to counseling?"
His reply "Definitely."
Stephanie SIms heads back to her apartment in West Monroe. It is the last time
David Sims will see his wife.
2003 - January 4 - Saturday - Golf Warehouse, Wichita, Kansas receives an order.
The first order is $4,775.99 for 2 sets of golf clubs, 30 boxes of balls, and a bag.
The order doesn't get shipped out because orders over $1,000 have to be verified by
2003 - January- 5 - Sunday - Barbara Pepper doesn't receive her daily phone call from her
daughter. She has a bad feeling that something isn't right. From that day
forward, there are no more phone calls from Stephanie.
Stephanie fails to show up for work at Louisiana Tech.
A missing persons report is filed with police.
David Sims is told about Stephanie's "friend" Wayne Guidry, and that he'd moved in
David Sims "When I found out, it made me physically sick."
Ginger "Before Stephanie disappeared, she was struggling with her secret life. Not a lot
of people knew of the affair."
8 A.M. -Wayne Guidry Jr. cashes a $3,000 check on Stephanie's account,
He drives to Community Trust Bank, cashes the check and then
drives her vehicle back to the apt. He walks to a U-Haul dealer and
rents a truck. He drives 298 miles, to Luling, Louisiana and back
to Monreo, La. the same day.
He places a second order with Golf Warehouse for $832.41 for men's
golf clothes. This order does ship. It is picked up at Stephanie's apt.
by Wayne Guidry Jr.
Lead Detective Jeff Terrell - David Sims was considered a jealous husband and a possible
motive in Stephanie's disappearance.
"He was obviously real concerned about Stephanie. he didn't know where she could be."
I believed him. David Sims passed a polygraph test.
2003 - January 7 - Jackson Parish deputy Scott Brown locates Wayne Guidry Jr.
in Jonesboro, La. With Guidry's permission his vehicle is searched.
Police find a receipt for transmission work,.another for new tires, a
traffic citation, and admission tickets to the Jackson-Bienville Game
Detective Terrell conducts interviews with Wayne Guidry Jr., the last person reported to
see Stephanie alive.
Police statements show Guidry claims "Stephanie is going to divorce her husband.
Wayne and Stephanie plan to take the $100,000 divorce settlement and move to
Tennessee where Guidry would play on the golf circuit. Stephanie would go back to
Detective Terrell "Guidry's rambling answers raised red flags. We knew that something
had happened." "Guidry kept changing his story, there were a lot of inconsistencies."
"There were unusual purchases on Stephanie's credit card the weekend she disappeared.
Nearly $5,000 worth of golf clothing and equipment, all for delivery to Guidry. On the very
day Stephanie is reported missing, Guidry cashed a $3,000 check Stephanie had made
out to him."
"You know, $3,000, that's a large amount of money, especially to her. She just
doesn't spend money like that, and it just didn't make sense."
WAYNE GUIDRY JR. - FIRST INTERVIEW
Wayne Guidry Jr. claims that he and Stephanie spent the day at the apartment.
He had cooked her dinner. Sometime that evening he watched a movie while
Stephanie took a bath. The lights flickered and went out. He heard Stephanie
say, "it didn't work." He claims Stephanie had dropped the hair dryer in the tub
in an attempt to kill herself.
He claims that later that night "we fought about my planned trip to Luling and Stephanie
kicked me out. I spent the night outside in the cold, but using the spare key I got into
Stephanie's car. I tried calling Stephanie all night and I could hear the phone ringing
inside, but she wouldn't answer."
WAYNE GUIDRY Jr. - 2ND INTERVIEW
Wayne Guidry Jr. claims "we had headed toward Jonesboro to see her parents, but
changed our minds and drove around, to Choudrant and Quitman before returning home
around 4 PM.
Guidry suggests Stephanie may have committed suicide, probably by cutting her
wrists. He gives three possible locations, but cannot explain how she would have
gotten there since her car was at home.
He also tells detectives, "Stephanie may be with one of her thirty or more boyfriends."
WAYNE GUIDRY JR. - 3RD INTERVIEW
2003 - January 23 - Detectives tell Guidry they know his earlier statements weren't
completely truthful and asked for explanations.
Detectives tell Guidry the suicide attempt could not have happened as he described
since 1) the plug was on a separate breaker and could not have affected the lights
and 2) the hair dryer physically did not reach the tub. T
There wasn't any way Guidry could have called Stephanie and heard the phone ringing
in the apartment as he claimed, because the computer was connected to the internet
all night. Internet activity showed someone was looking at golf and pornographic web
sites till the wee hours of the morning, sites never visited by Stephanie before Guidry
Detective Terrell "This proved Guidry was in the apartment when he claimed he was
Records show the last check written by Stephanie on January 6 was for $3,000 to
Wayne Guidry. Guidry told detectives the check was for him to have some work
done on his vehicle.
Wayne Guidry Jr.'s version this time of January 5 is that they they drove to Ruston by
David's house, then to Quitman, Choudrant, and back to West Monroe. To verify their
trip, he suggests they check at the convenience store in Quitman.
Detectives later verified Stephanie had been seen by store clerk Sarah Fitzpatrick,
who attended school in Jonesboro with Stephanie. He acknowledges he saw
Stephanie's gun in the car that day.
Wayne Guidry Jr. heads home to Luling, Louisiana (just outside New Orleans).
He visits his friend Erick Dufrene. They grew up together. They're hunting and
Erick Dufrene "He was a nice guy. Very competitive, just like me."He strived to
be the best golfer he could be. He wanted it be his livelihood."
" Wayne came knocking on the door and told me Stephanie had gone.
I asked him if he had any idea where she might be. And he'd mentioned maybe
somewhere with some friends in Tennessee or just that she needed a break."
"He looked worried, but the worried look quickly wore off, I thought he was in love
with her. It kind of got to me that he would go play golf everyday. I'd be more
concerned. I'd be more involved."
INVESTIGATION HEATS UP
Investigators contact Erik Dufrene. Investigators knew Wayne liked the outdoors
and sometimes took Stephanie into the woods to make love. They're looking for
clues for why Wayne Guidry would kill Stephanie, and where he would have left
Eric Dufrene "I was shocked, in disbelief because I didn't want to believe it.
They asked me if I knew of any areas where he might have dumped the body.
So I just showed them areas on the map where we hunted, Jackson-Bienville,
the management area."
"I had a vague memory of a place in the woods that fascinated Wayne, a hole in
the ground, somewhere in the preserve. He found it to be, kind of neat. I just
saw it as a hole in the ground."
Detective Terrell contacts another man who had often hunted with Wayne Guidry,
his own father, Wayne Guidry Sr.
Detective Terrell "Mr. Guidry was concerned about Stephanie being missing.
Whenever we put forth the question, you know, if Wayne Jr. did something to her
in the wildlife management area, what would he have done with her? So, you know,
Mr. Guidry was thinking. And there was a pause. Then he said, 'You know, Wayne
did mention this hole that he found out in the middle of the woods like a year
ago. He told us what road it was off of, a little logging road.'"
Wayne's father drew a map, marking the approximate location of the hole with an X.
2003 -February 13 - West Monroe Police Department and the Jackson Parish Sheriff's Office
search with about 150 people. They find the hole, and at the bottom of
the old, abandoned well, hidden under brush, is the body of Stephanie
An arrest warrant is issuedy for Wayne Guidry Jr.
Dr. Frank Perretti conducts the autopsy.
Stephanie Sims had been shot once in the chest with a .25-caliber bullet. She died
within three to four minutes from internal bleeding. A rope found loosely tied around
her feet had apparently been used to drag her body to the old abandoned well located
off Sisemore Road.
Perritti was unable to determine the exact date of death, but based on the condition
of the body, it would have been consistent with January 5, 2003.
Wayne Joseph Guidry, Jr (26) is arrested at the City Park Golf Club in New Orleans.
He is charged with Second Degree Murder.
Change of Venue - The trial was moved to Homer, La. because of pre-trail publicity
in Jackson Parish.
Detective Terrell testifies. His testimony covers the orders Guidry had placed with
the Golf Warehouse over the internet using Stephanie's credit card. Internet
activity shows someone was looking at golf and pornographic web sites until the
early hours of the morning. Judge Clason allows the computer evidence but only
if the porn sites are referred to as "centerfold" sites.
The 3rd taped interview with Wayne Guidry Jr. is played for the jury.
Loan Tran, Director of Operations for Golf Warehouse, Wichita, Kansas.
The director testifies regarding the orders placed with their company by Wayne
Scott Brown (Former Jackson Parish Deputy) testifies to locating Guidry in
Jonesboro and the search of his vehicle.
Hugo Holland (Assistant District Attorney, Caddo Parish) presents to the jury
more than 30 witnesses and submits more than 60 items into evidence .
Wayne Joseph Guidry Sr. testifies that he provided information to investigators
which led to the discovery of Stephanie Sims' body. On the stand, he says
"I love my son but understand how the Peppers feel because I also have two
daughters and he would want closure."
Eric Dufrene testifies that he also told detectives about the hole Wayne Guidry Jr.
had shown it to him during one of their three hunting trips to the Jackson-Bienville
Wildlife Management Area. "I was "shocked" when told that Stephanie's
body had been found in the hole."
Terry Lynn Coleman (Guidry's former cellmate in the Jackson Parish jail)
is ordered by Judge Jennifer Clason to undergo a competency hearing before
he's allowed to testify. (Coleman is also charged with 1st Degree Murder in
Terry Lynn Coleman testifies "Guidry admitted to him that he killed Stephanie and
dumped her body in a hole in the Jackson-Bienville Wildlife Management Area, then
threw the gun in a nearby pond.
Joseph Clark (Defense Attorney) argues Coleman had been ruled incompetent to
stand trial and had a long history of mental illness. He also questions why Coleman
waited 18 months to record what Guidry had told him.
Coleman "Because I didn't like the Sherrif." Coleman waited until after Andy Brown
was sworn in July 2004 as Sheriff. Coleman's 8-page letter details Guidry's statement
and provides a possible motive.
Terry Lynn Coleman testifies "Stephanie wanted to break up with Guidry. They
argued but made up before they drove through Ruston to Quitman January 5. He
describes the route they took, how they got out of Stephanie's car and walked into
the woods. "The surprise was a plan to lure Stephanie out into the woods."
Van Sant "And so he tells you he heads out to the woods. What does he do?
Coleman "Guidry wanted his share of the divorce settlement, which he thought
was about half of $500,000."
"They parked where they had met before. They get out of the car and go walking
in the woods. He said Stephanie was unaware he had her gun. He produces the
gun, a .25 or .32 caliber handgun, tells her she's either going to marry him or he's
gonna kill her. But anyway, he shot her. He shot her one time, dragged her to the
hole, which he described as an old well. He walked to a neaby pond and threw
the gun in. Then he drove back to the apartment, signed on to the internet so it
would look like Stephanie was at home."
Sheriff Andy Brown (Coleman's second cousin), testifies this was the only letter he
ever received from Coleman and that he had never asked for any favors in return.
Terry Coleman only asked that he start a commissary for the inmates, which he did
after Coleman was moved to the Claiborne Detention Center.
Sarah Fitzpatrick (Store Clerk) testifies that on the last day Stephanie was seen alive,
"She came in and said 'Hey,' and we said 'Hey, how ya doing,' and she left.
Barbara Pepper Stephanie's last call. "She had talked to Wayne and he told her he
had a surprise for her, and he wanted her to come back to West Monroe. So she
said, 'I guess I'll go see but I'll call you and let you know what it is."
WAYNE GUIDRY JR. TAKES THE STAND
Wayne Guidry Jr. swears he is "innocent."
"I love Stephanie and her family, and I didn't kill Stephanie."
Van Sant "So you tell me it's just a coincidence that her body ends up in the hole that
you had pointed out to your good friend; the hole that your own father knew about?"
Guidry "I don't if that's the same hole. I don't know."
Van Sant "It is the same hole,:
Guidry "Well if based on your word, then I would say yeah, it's a coincidence."
Van Sant "Why do you get emotional when you're thinking about this?"
"It changed my life. It wasn't just a need for sex. It was a need for a
relationship that was romantic and passionate," Guidry replied.
Wayne Guidry "I was addicted to pornography and golf. That's the honest answer I
can give you. Stephanie knew I was doing this.
"She was ready to divorce her husband. "She kept saying, 'Well, we're going to get a
divorce. It's just going to take time.' I was very satisfied with the relationship that I was in
Ginger Steward "She would come into school and be tired and she would tell me that
she was up fighting with Wayne. It sounded like the fights were just nasty."
"Guidry was out of work and he did not contribute anything, financially speaking, to the relationship."
WAYNE GUIDRY'S 4th VERSION
Wayne Guidry Jr. "We spent a typical Sunday afternoon together. We had sex that
day. Then we left, decided we were just gonna go for a drive, there's a little store that
we went to. That night, we had an argument and Stephanie threw me out of the
apartment. I drove around in her white Ford Taurus all night long, until morning.
I brought it back at about 7:15 (a.m.), which was usually the time she leaves
to go to work, but there was nobody at the apartment."
Hugo Holland (Prosecutor) That's a lie. I'm gonna maintain that Stephanie's dead at
the bottom of the hole long before this argument takes place.
Right after the stop at the convenience store, Guidry took Stephanie into the woods
and shot her. I don't know if Wayne shot Stephanie as soon as she got out of the car,
or somehow got her to walk into the woods with him. Bottom line is, he was looking
at her and she was looking at him when she was shot. He dumps her in the hole in
the woods, and then he drives back to the apartment.
"That computer is what will allow me to prove that Wayne Guidry is a liar,
bold-face liar. During the exact time period Guidry says he was driving around
after Stephanie kicked him out of the apartment, someone was in the apartment
surfing the Web for 11 hours. The person that was on the Internet was ordering
golf supplies, looking at golf supplies, and looking at pornography. It wasn't
Howard Pepper "As for the $3,000 check Stephanie gave Guidry the day before she
disappeared, "I thinks Stephanie may have been trying to get rid of him at that
time. "And she thought 'Well, it's worth $3,000 to get him out of my life."
Wayne Guidry "That's not what it was. He says there's nothing sinister about
cashing the check and leaving town. I'm heading home to get my vehicle outta
Van Sant "How do you leave and head for southern Louisiana on a day in which the woman
you love has gone missing?"
Guidry "Well, I didn't know she was missing until I was already on the road."
Van Sant "You know that Stephanie is missing, and you continue on your trip to southern
Louisiana?" Van Sant asked.
Guidry "Yeah, and I'm not tryin' to water this down like I was, like I did anything
that was acceptable. Because it probably, it definitely wasn't."
"I had nothing to do with Stephanie's murder and I don't t know who killed her.
It could have been almost anyone, including Stephanie's husband, David."
"He didn't know my name and he didn't know who I was. But I believe he
knew she was having a relationship with somebody."
"Why would I kill the one woman who really loved me?"
"I met with a person who didn't care about what my past or what mistakes I made
or whether I was smart enough or good looking enough, you know. She was interested
in the man inside of me. Not just what people see."
Wayne Guidry "The surprise was a lunch of venison and nachos."
"I knew Stephanie had a gun, a Larson .25 caliber semi-automatic
handgun, but I don't know where it is.
Howard Pepper"I bought Stephanie a .25 caliber pistol for target practice.
I sometimes feel I'm partially responsible for her death because of that."
"I'm "almost positive" that Stephanie was murdered with the gun I gave her."
Hugo Holland (Prosecutor) "I don't care how much explaining or talking a
defense lawyer does, there's no way around it. Wayne Guidry was fascinated
with that hole in the middle of the woods. Eric Dufrene knew about it. And more
importantly, Wayne's daddy knew about it."
"The most important piece of evidence, the most important testimony, the most
important thing in this whole case was Wayne Guidry Sr. But for the honesty and
the integrity of that man we may never have found Stephanie's body."
"No parent is ever supposed to bury a child. That's never supposed to happen,"
says Holland. "I'm really big on retributive justice. What would be fair is if
the state of Louisiana to be able to take Wayne's life like he took Stephanie's.
The best I can hope for is that he has to think about what he's done everyday
for the rest of his life."
Hugo Holland " Wayne Guidry may have answered the motive for Stephanie's murder
early on.Wayne Guidry said in one of his statements to police "I wanted to have what
her and David had. Wayne Guidry coveted what David Sims had. He wanted David's
money. He wanted David's wife."
The jury determines Wayne Guidry Jr. is GUILTY.
Wayne Guidry "I'll accept the verdict,, but I am not guilty. I can't let this
destroy my life. I have a life to live and I can still be a success as a man,
as a Christian man, still even if I'm in prison however long that will be,"
Wayne Guidry Jr., (31) is sentenced to Life in prison without possibility of parole.
Howard and Barbara Pepper "She lived a full life, and she made many contributions,
we're still proud of her."
Barbara Pepper "I just miss her so much. Just seein' her and hearin' her voice. If I could just
hear her voice."
Asked if justice had been served, Howard Pepper said "I believe that with all my
David Sims "Every now and then for a few seconds I experience the full impact of
what's happened, and that's truly horrifying. "I still miss her,, just having a pal. She
was my best friend. She always came across sweet, bubbly, and those are the things
that you remember."
Louisiana Tech University dedicated a computer lab in honor of Stephanie Pepper Sims.
The First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Louisiana, dedicated a piano in Stephanie's memory.
Wayne Guidry, Jr. is appealing his conviction.