Convicted rapist captured, wanted for 20 years - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Convicted rapist captured, wanted for 20 years

QUITMAN COUNTY, GA (WXTX) -  Officials say Samuel Simmons has been living in Quitman County for about a decade.

He even has a Georgia drivers license and is a registered voter- all under a different name.

But sheriff's deputies say he is a convicted sex offender.

It was a DUI arrest that ultimately revealed the 57-year-old's checkered past and dark secrets.

Quitman County authorities say Simmons might have gone unnoticed, living a free man under a different name if it weren't for his DUI bust, during which his fingerprints were taken. Once they were in the system, officials say the fingerprints raised red flags and revealed his true identity.

"Mister Simmons stated that he had changed his name legally to Shabaz. I have no proof that he's actually changed his name. We haven't seen any paperwork on that. We were booking him in and put him on the Life Scan machine that automatically sends your fingerprints to the FBI National Center. We got a response that Mr. Simmons was wanted out of Florida for a parole violation," explained Javier Garcia, Chief Deputy of the Quitman County Sheriff's Office.

Garcia received court records that show Simmons was convicted of Rape in Tampa, Florida back in 1973 and received a life sentence.

But after 10 years behind bars, he was paroled in 1983.

In 1985, he was back at, charged with aggravated battery and therefore, violating his parole.

Around that time, officials say Simmons fell under police radar, living in Quitman County and working in Eufaula under his new name.

"I'm kind of shocked because I didn't know about his criminal record. Living close to someone like that, that would have bothered me if I had known that, the safety if my family and kids," said his neighbor, Anthony Dennard.

A WXTXcrew went to Samuel Simmons house Monday and his family members had no comment.

Simmons, meanwhile, is being held in the Miller County Jail as the Florida Parole Commission gears up to extradite him back to Florida on his parole violation.

©2010 WXTX. All rights reserved.

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