'A misunderstanding:' Mother of man accused of fatally shooting stepfather explains why

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee man stands accused of walking into his mother's home and fatally shooting his stepfather in front of his mother and 7-year-old half-sister -- a crime prosecutors said he admitted to. Less than three weeks after the Oct. 11 crime, we heard for the first time from the wife of the victim -- who is also the mother of the suspect.

One count of first-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon was filed Oct. 15 against Melvonta Jones, 24, of Milwaukee in connection with the shooting that took the life of Benjamin Simms Sr. near Fond du Lac Avenue and Beale Street.

Sharita Simms was distraught Tuesday, Oct. 29 as she recalled jokes her husband told her that made her smile -- knowing videos of his laugh were all she had left.

"I can't sleep," said Simms. "I can't eat. I can't even think straight because when I close my eyes, I just see it all over again."

On that Friday, Benjamin Simms Sr. was sitting on the couch, his wife in the recliner, when prosecutors said Jones walked in and confronted his stepfather -- telling Simms Sr. not to disrespect him, his mother, or his family. His 7-year-old half-sister saw what happened next.

Sharita Simms

"She says, 'You better not,'" said Sharita Simms. "Don't shoot my daddy. Don't shoot my dad."

Prosecutors said Jones pulled the trigger, leaving marks behind.

"I'm not just scared of my son," said Sharita Simms. "I'm scared of other people. I'm scared to go outside. I'm scared of noise. I'm scared to death for my life."

Sharita Simms was so fearful, she did not want to reveal her face on television, but did not hide behind what she said she saw that day, and why it came to this.

Benjamin Simms Sr.

"My son felt like everybody had my attention but him," said Sharita Simms. "This was all jealousy -- all a misunderstanding."

Sharita Simms said she believes this could have been avoided with a simple conversation.

"When I say I'm sitting alone, walking alone, feeling lonely, I'm afraid not just of other people," said Sharita Simms. "This has left me lonely. This has left me scared. This has left me afraid of my own children."

A scheduling conference was held for Jones on Tuesday after he waived his preliminary hearing on Oct. 23 and pleaded not guilty to the reckless homicide charge. Cash bond was set at $50,000 when he made his initial appearance on Oct. 15.

Sharita Simms said she attended all of the hearings and would continue to do so, indicating she loved her husband and children all the same and wishes it wouldn't have come to this.