simkins trial

William Simkins Jr. faces five to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 4 for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Danny Drake

MAYS LANDING - William Simkins Jr. seemed upset and confused as he paced the room of his girlfriend's home trying to replay the accident he had been in about an hour earlier, Misty Henderson testified Wednesday, during her boyfriend's vehicular homicide trial.

Simkins, 33, of Egg Harbor Township is accused of chasing down and fatally striking Jacob Broschard, 16, as the teen and his friends biked away after one vandalized a car early Sept. 6, 2010.

But Henderson said Simkins never mentioned his mother's car mirror being damaged or chasing after the kids when he told her he was driving from his mother's home on Royal Avenue and struck a kid on a bike as he swerved to avoid another.

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Simkins woke Henderson around 3 a.m. - about an hour after the fatal crash - and asked her to come downstairs because he had been in an accident and wanted to talk to her.

"He kept trying to replay the accident in his head," she testified as a witness for the prosecution. "He said there was a crack in the windshield and he was trying to figure out how it got there."

He believed it was the handlebars of the bike, Henderson said.

"He didn't think the kid was hurt, that's what shocked me this morning (when learning the accident was fatal)," Henderson told a detective in a portion of an interview that was read in court. "He didn't think the kid was hurt."

After Simkins told her the story, she said they drove to the police station.

"He wanted to turn himself in," she said. "He wanted everyone to know he didn't have anything to hide."

But acting First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton pointed to where Simkins first parked the damaged car, hidden from view rather than in a spot in front of the home that could have drawn attention.

She said she didn't know where Simkins had been headed, but that he often made late-night runs to nearby Cumberland Farms, and that would be a reason he would leave his mother's home with the garage door still open and the light on.

The defense has argued that there is no evidence Simkins went after the boy, and that Broschard veered into his path while going around a parked car.

Superior Court Judge Michael Donio denied Ruberton's attempts to show jurors a picture of Broschard's body lying in the road. Defense attorney Lou Barbone successfully argued it would have no value to the case other than to prejudice the jurors.

Instead, Donio allowed one photo of Broschard's body covered with a sheet to allow jurors to see where the teen's body came to rest in the road.

During arguments about the more graphic photos, the jurors were not in the courtroom and neither were the family and friends of Broschard, who have been attending the trial. They came back in after the photos were no longer being shown.

Simkins is additionally charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and endangering an injured person.

Trial will continue Thursday and is expected to last two weeks.


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