Woman Back In Jail After Being Released Due To Supreme Court Ruling

Shaynna Sims was sent to prison in 2017 after a jury found her guilty of cutting up the body of a woman who had died and was inside a casket. She was released because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, but now she's being sent back, because of another U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Monday, February 27th 2023, 9:55 pm



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A woman is back behind bars tonight after being released from prison after serving four years of her 20-year sentence.

Shaynna Sims was sent to prison in 2017 after a jury found her guilty of cutting up the body of a woman who had died and was inside a casket.

That conviction was later overturned, and Sims was released.

She was released because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, but now she's being sent back, because of another U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The Tulsa County DA said he’s relieved Shaynna Sims is finally being held accountable for her crimes.

"The wait for justice by this victim's family has been long coming and hard fought. It was the lightning rod case to illustrate some of our frustrations with the McGirt Decision," said DA Steve Kunzweiler, Tulsa County.

Court records said Sims went into a Tulsa funeral home where Tabatha Lynch was in a casket and cut Lynch from the forehead to the top of her nose, cut her hair, smeared her make-up, cut off a toe and both breasts, before removing Lynch's clothes and taking pictures.

A jury found her guilty and gave her 20 years in prison. However, her conviction and sentence were dismissed after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal jurisdiction.

“It was pure manipulation, at least in my opinion, to somehow think that you could go in and do what Ms. Sims did and get caught red-handed and be held responsible by a Tulsa County Jury. And then have the audacity to basically say, 'you can’t hold me accountable because the victim was a Native American.' So, I’m glad that our court of criminal appeals saw through that argument and has given her, her just rewards for the awful trauma she’s caused to this family," said DA Kunzweiler.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified its ruling by saying if the suspect is not Native American and the victim is, state prosecutors can still handle the case.

“The target keeps on moving and shifting for us and I have to allocate resources first to try and identify people who are subject to it. Now I’ve got full time prosecutors doing nothing other than handling McGirt related cases. The expense and time involved has been pretty significant," said DA Kunzweiler. “I’m hearing that the feds are going to get a whole lot more money and a lot more prosecutors. I wish there was actually a way that they could divert that money to the people who are doing the work on the ground in state courts here in the eastern part of the state. State prosecutors need the help as well.”

Based on the clarification, Sims' conviction and sentence are now reinstated, and she's headed back to prison to finish out her 20-year sentence.

“At the end of the day, nobody should be asking a question about race, you know? At the end of the day, are you a victim or are you a suspect? Let’s hold you accountable for that," said DA Kunzweiler.

Sims was charged three months ago in Muskogee County with having a stolen car and larceny. That case is still pending.

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