Phillip Simmons

FARMINGTON — The bizarre behavior of the murder suspect led both the prosecution and the defense to conclude a mental evaluation is necessary for Phillip Simmons.

"It's apparent. ..," said defense attorney Tony Miles, who then asked the judge to have doctors evaluate Simmons' mental competency.

"He's very incoherent," deputy Davis County Attorney Steve Major said outside of court. "For us, it raised enough of a concern that we agreed to do a competency evaluation."

Simmons, 35, made his first appearance Tuesday in 2nd District Court, where he moved his mouth constantly as if he were chewing on something. He rarely looked up at anyone.

He is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Susanne Fry, 57. In court papers, prosecutors revealed new details about the slaying, including a theory that Fry was killed in an argument over a meal. Police say Simmons told them that the word "murder" flashed in his mind, he blacked out and when he woke up Fry was lying in a pool of blood.

According to a probable cause statement filed with the charges, Bountiful police responded to Fry's apartment at 2135 S. Main St., where Simmons had been living with Fry, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Bountiful police said Fry had been stabbed 51 times with a steak knife. Police allege that Simmons then destroyed her apartment, punching holes in walls, turning over a china hutch and smashing windows and mirrors.

Simmons was spotted a few minutes after a 911 call from neighbors about noise. Officer David Suekawa stopped Simmons about two blocks north of Fry's home. Simmons told the officer he had been there, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings wrote in charging papers.

"Defendant further told the officer that a lady has been murdered," he wrote.

Simmons was arrested. Police said he had blood on his hands and his T-shirt. Under questioning, Rawlings wrote that Simmons told officers he lived with Fry and "had done something bad."

"He further stated that he had fixed a plate of food and that an argument over the food had occurred and that in his mind he heard the word 'murder' and a knife came out and then he blacked out," Rawlings wrote. "When he came to, there was blood all over and the victim was lying on the floor."

In court, Simmons mumbled his answers and appeared incoherent.

"The main issue in this case is going to be the competency," Major said.

The judge ordered a mental competency evaluation and set bail at $100,000 cash only. Simmons is being held in the Davis County Jail's medical unit.

"Where do I go?" he asked the judge as his hearing wrapped up, not looking at anyone in particular.

"Just go with the officer," the judge replied.

Members of Fry's family were at Simmons' court appearance. They declined to speak to reporters afterward.


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