Woman who killed her baby girl gets parole

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A southern Illinois woman who served three decades in prison for killing her baby girl was granted parole on Thursday.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted 12-1 to grant Paula Sims release from Alton after more than three hours of testimony and discussion.

“It was a great victory for the women, a great relief for me and a great gift for Paula,” her lawyer, Jed Stone, told the Belleville News-Democrat. “It’s a recognition that postpartum psychosis is real and that women who suffer from this mental illness need to be treated and understood and not left out of the ‘baby blues’. “

It was not known when Sims, 62, would be released from Logan Correctional Center, located northeast of Springfield. She has been imprisoned there for 30 years.

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In 1990, a jury convicted Sims of first degree murder, cover-up homicide, and obstruction of justice in the suffocation death of his 6-week-old daughter, Heather Sims. Paula Sims confessed to the murder of Heather in 1989 and of her other daughter in 1986, Loralei Sims, 13 days old, the News-Democrat reported.

Stone argued that Sims committed the crimes while suffering from postpartum psychosis, a rare mental illness that causes delusions, hallucinations and paranoia in some new mothers. Recent changes in Illinois law allow postpartum psychosis and depression to be considered as mitigating factors in sentencing.

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About 25 people attended the Sims hearing. No one was present in the opposition.

Madison County State Attorney Tom Haine sent a five-page letter to the review board “vigorously” opposing Sims’ release. He argued that Sims had lied about his crimes for years to avoid punishment and only confessed after being convicted of murder and wanting to avoid the death penalty.

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