Mom Killed 2 Baby Daughters 3 Years Apart, But Now Claims Postpartum Psychosis and Wants New Trial

An Illinois woman serving life in prison for the murders of her two infant daughters is seeking a new trial nearly 30 years after her conviction.

The lawyer for Paula Sims, 60, cites a recent law in Illinois allowing evidence to be presented during a new trial that was impermissible at her 1990 trial.

Sims, who lived in Alton, was found guilty of the murders of her then-infant daughters Heather and Loralei Sims three years apart.

Loralei was suffocated in 1986; her 13-day-old body was found in a wooded area behind the Alton home Paula Sims shared with her husband, Robert. The baby was initially reported kidnapped by an armed man.

Heather was asphyxiated in 1989 at six weeks old. Paula falsely told investigators she was knocked unconscious by a masked man while taking out the garbage on April 29, 1989, waking later on to find the baby missing.

Heather’s body was found dumped in a park’s garbage can. Investigators learned later that Sims kept the body in a freezer for several days before disposing of it.

The case inspired the 1993 made-for-TV movie Precious Victims.

Paula Sims | AP Photo/Edwardsville Intelligencer, Jeremy Paschall; llinois Department of Corrections/AP/Shutterstock
Paula Sims | AP Photo/Edwardsville Intelligencer, Jeremy Paschall; llinois Department of Corrections/AP/Shutterstock

Since her conviction, Sims has confessed to both killings. She has also appealed her conviction, seeking to have her case retried.

PEOPLE reached out to her attorney Jed Stone, who provided a copy of the petition he filed on Sims’ behalf.

The petition cites a law that was passed last year in Illinois that allows evidence of a defendant’s postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum psychosis (PPP) to be entered during trials and sentencing hearings.

Stone argues that new science will show his client had PPP at the time she killed her two daughters. She has a third child, a son, who was never harmed.

Stone is seeking a new trial or a new sentencing hearing for Sims.

“The medical science understanding of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis since her trial and sentencing has changed significantly,” reads the petition.

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“At the time of Sims’ trial, there was little to no research on the existence of PPD/PPP,” Stone wrote. “Before trial Paula Sims suffered from PPP. She would hallucinate.”

The petition further contends Sims heard voices at the time of the murders.

It is unclear when the court will consider the petition.

Sims is serving her sentence at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois.