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Sims found guilty of murder, sentenced to life in prison

Belton Sims has been found guilty of the 2016 murder of his four-year-old son Messiah Griffith. The trial began Monday in the Jefferson Davis County Courthouse in Prentiss.

Judge Prentiss Harrell sentenced Sims to life in prison and a $25,000 fine. He will be transferred immediately by Jefferson Davis County deputies to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.

According to Jefferson Davis County Sheriff Ron Strickland, Sims picked up his son from his grandmother Mary Nell Sims’ house late in the evening on Aug. 4, 2016. Sims lived next door to his mother at 250 Black Polk Road.

Early that next morning, Sims drove his son to the Jefferson Davis Community Hospital where the child was later pronounced dead. Doctors called the Sheriff’s Office around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 5 to report the child’s death.

According to investigators, Sims reported that he put the child in the bathtub around 11:15 p.m. He went to get a dry towel and change of clothes and when he came back the baby had drowned.

Autopsy reports showed no sign of water in the child’s lungs. Reports said head trauma was present and that the child had been severely beaten to death The autopsy report also indicated the time of death was several hours before the child was taken to the hospital.

Sims was charged with murder and was given no bond during his initial appearance.

He was later indicted by a Jefferson Davis County Grand Jury.

“This is a tragedy in Jefferson Davis County. One of our young citizens has been taken from us. The sheriff’s department is saddened by these actions. We pray for the family and our community,” Strickland said.