LITTLE ROCK, ARK. -- The slain wife of alleged mass murderer R. Gene Simmons was thinking about leaving her husband, but worried that she could not find a job and decided to wait and "do some checking," according to a letter she wrote.
"I don't want to live the rest of my life with Dad," wrote 46-year-old Rebecca Simmons, one of 16 people who died in a Christmas holiday killing spree. "I am a prisoner here and the kids too . . . . Dad has had me like a prisoner . . . , " she wrote last summer to one of her sons, himself a victim.
R. Gene Simmons, 47, a retired Air Force master sergeant, is the only suspect in the deaths and has been charged with two killings so far, Pope County Sheriff Jim Bolin said. The deaths were the worst family mass murder in the nation's history.
The four-page, handwritten letter depicts a life of isolation, suppression and fear on a farm near Dover at the edge of the Ozark Mountains. Simmons would not connect a telephone, tried to pick up all mail himself and shooed neighbors away from his children.
"Everytime I think of freedom I want out as soon as possible," Simmons wrote last summer to her son, William H. Simmons II, whose wife, Renata, and their young son also were slain.
Copies of the letter were given to the Arkansas Democrat by Gwenda Hearnsberger of Thornton, Renata's aunt, and to the Arkansas Gazette by Joe and Lorraine May of Fordyce, Renata's father and stepmother, the newspapers reported.