A Hill County man with a long history of physically abusing at least five women was sentenced to 75 years in prison Thursday.
Jurors in Waco’s 19th State District Court deliberated about an hour before determining punishment for Dwarren Lamar Simmons, of Hubbard, which also includes a $5,000 fine. The jury convicted the three-time felon earlier Thursday on a charge of assault family violence with a prior conviction.
Jurors heard testimony from four women, including two who had children with him, that showed Simmons, a former barber and construction worker, beat them and a fifth woman starting in 1996.
Prosecutors Gabrielle Massey and Amanda Smith, who asked the jury for a life sentence, charged Simmons as a habitual criminal because of his criminal past. That designation bumped the charge to a first-degree felony with a minimum penalty of 25 years, which is what defense attorneys Edward Vallejo and Lauren McLeod asked for.
Simmons, who has felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance, assault and assault family violence by occlusion and two misdemeanor convictions for assault, two for evading arrest and one for giving false information to police, must serve 15 years in prison before he can seek parole.
Simmons rejected a 35-year plea offer before trial.
Selsa Herrera testified that she and Simmons were dating and they were going to donate plasma for money in May 2015. She said Simmons became angry after she was turned away from the center because she recently had been released from prison.
They got some food and got into an argument, she said.
Simmons threw her phone out the car window, so she threw the food out, too, she said.
He punched her in the face, kicked her and got her in a headlock with his elbow around her neck and made it difficult for her to breathe, she said.
A woman saw them in front of her house fighting and called police. Herrera said she tried to flee the car, but Simmons caught her by the back of her shorts and tried to pull her back into the car. Herrera said she lost both her shorts and her underwear and ran into the house, where the woman allowed her to stay until police arrived.
Herrerra testified that about a year later, Simmons brought her to the district attorney’s office and told her to say she made up the story about the assault and wanted to drop prosecution of the case.
She acknowledged she lied to prosecutors then but said she did so because she was afraid of Simmons.