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Pleasant Hill Man Convicted of Killing a Witness in Another Murder Case

Katie Bernard

A Pleasant Hill man was convicted Friday of shooting and killing a witness for another murder he was charged with.

A Jackson County jury found Michael Dumas, 28, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action. The jury recommended he serve up to 34 years in prison according to a news release from the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office.

“While we are disappointed with the verdict, we are pleased that Michael was acquitted of M1 and that jury issued reasonable sentences,” said John Picerno, Dumas’s attorney in an email to The Star.

Simms, 46, was a witness for the state in another case. She had been in the car with Dumas when he allegedly sped after another car to shoot back in a gunbattle on Interstate 70 leading to the death of 18-year-old Phillip J. Anderson.

Dumas had been out of jail on $150,000 bond for a year when Simms was killed. He was facing one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action. That case is still pending.

People who knew Simms and Dumas told The Star in 2018 that it was unlikely Dumas was motivated to kill Sims in order to remove a witness.

A friend said that Simms had told Dumas that she would be on his side in the upcoming trial.

“The state had plenty of witnesses,” Dumas’ attorney John Picerno said in 2018. “He knows that. She did not have unique information. It’s not like the case was going to fall apart without her. I can’t believe he would do it to get rid of a witness.”

In charging documents following the shooting, a witness said he heard Simms and Dumas arguing in Simms’ bedroom around 2:30 a.m. Around 5:30 a.m., the witness said, he entered the kitchen to see Dumas holding a large butane torch in his hand.

The witness said he and Simms held their hands up as Dumas shot them both with a sawed off shotgun before fleeing the house.

Dumas was arrested later that day.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17.

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