Woman who confessed to torturing, dismembering man gets natural life in prison


by Catherine Holland


Posted on April 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 6:30 AM

PHOENIX -- The woman who freely admitted in jailhouse interviews to committing of one of the most gruesome murders in Phoenix history will spend the rest of her natural life in prison.

Judge Paul McMurdie on Tuesday sentenced Angela Simpson to natural life in prison for first-degree murder plus 14 additional years on the remaining charges.

Detectives called the murder of Terry Neely one of the worst crimes they've ever seen.

According to police, Simpson, now 36, lured Neely to her apartment with promises of drugs and sex. Once there, she tortured, killed and dismembered him. Simpson made Neely, who was confined to a wheelchair, watch in a mirror as she beat him, stabbed him and pulled out his teeth. The torture went on for three days.

According to autopsy results, Neely sustained multiple blunt-force head injuries and a 3-inch nail had been driven or hammered into his brain. He was also stabbed approximately 50 times, his throat was sliced and he was dismembered.

"I beat him to death. ... I killed him and cut him up," Simpson told 3TV in a jailhouse interview shortly after her arrest in 2009.

The day she was sentenced, Simpson said she would have preferred to have kept Neely alive and tortured him for a week.

I'm a little upset that I won't be able to, you know, kill more snitches.... I believe informants and child molesters should be killed ... period.

- Angela Simpson in a jailhouse interview with 3TV shortly after her arrest in 2009

Neely's body was found in a burning trash can in the parking lot behind a Phoenix church in early August 2009. Detectives arrested Simpson two weeks later. A grand jury indicted her charges of first-degree murder and kidnapping on Aug. 27.

Simpson, who was already in jail when detectives talked to her about Neely, was articulate and straightforward in that jailhouse interview, calmly explaining that Neely, 46, was a snitch and got "what he deserved."

She said that while she was "kind of relieved" when police arrested her, she also had one regret, and it was not killing Neely.

"I'm a little upset that I won't be able to, you know, kill more snitches, but I have no remorse about killing him [Neely]," she said.

Last month, Simpson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. She also was charged with kidnapping and abandonment of a body.

It's really not that much of a punishment to be sentenced to spend my life with my family.

- Angela Simpson in a jailhouse interview with 3TV on April 3, the day she was sentenced

The sentence of natural life means Simpson will die in prison.

"A defendant who is sentenced to natural life is not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release from confinement on any basis," reads Arizona Revised Statutes 13-751, the section defining life and death sentences in the criminal code.

When 3TV's reporter asked her in 2009 why she killed Neely, the answer, to Simpson, seemed simple.

"I don't want my children or the people I consider family to be in a place where there are snitches," she said.

Simpson also implied that Neely was not her first victim.

"I believe informants and child molesters should be killed ... period," she said.

In a jailhouse interview the day of her sentencing, Simpson said her earlier implications that she had killed before were false.

"So, that was just talk?" 3TV reporter Mike Watkiss asked.

"Right," Simpson answered. But she also said she regretted not killing a second victim, an alleged arm robber.

"I just didn't have time. I had to go somewhere," she said. "I should have killed him when I had the go."

Watkiss went on to ask Simpson how she felt about spending the rest of her life in prison.

"You know I've got  a lot of family in prison ... I'm OK with that," she answered. "I'm OK with that. I've got many sisters in prison. I can't wait to see 'em. It's really not that much of a punishment to be sentenced to spend my life with my family."

Simpson explained that she has a history of mental illness going back to when she was just 10 years old, but insisted that she does not want or expect sympathy. She also said she believes she deserved the death penalty but is happy with her sentence.

"I prefer to spend my life with my sisters," she said. "I do believe that [the death penalty] would have been justice."

"Will you kill again?" Watkiss asked.

"If the opportunity arises, I hope so," Simpson answered without hesitation.