David Allen Simpkins: Parole Board Poster Boy

by Kerry Dougherty

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why I’m writing about Virginia’s rogue Parole Board AGAIN.

After all, we ran a series of stories last spring about the eight murderers they turned loose. We’ve reported on the more than 100 parolees they took off of supervised probation. We’ve covered the way they played loose with laws and regulations.

Perhaps you’re bored with the scandal.

Ah, but you haven’t met David Allen Simpkins, the Parole Board’s poster boy.

You need to get a load of this reprobate to fully appreciate the Board’s lack of concern for public safety.

Simpkins is a career criminal. A one-man crime spree. A sex offender to boot.

About the only crime he hasn’t committed — as far as we know — is murder.

Last October Simpkins, 58,  grabbed a gun, put on a wig and mask, headed to a Pulaski County gas station to commit armed robbery.

A brave bystander stepped in and beat the tar out of Simpkins.

This is the best part: Turns out Simpkins had 56 prior felony convictions and was out on parole when he committed his latest crime.

Simpkins’ freedom one year earlier came courtesy of the McAuliffe/Northam parole board.

I’ll let the Roanoke Times Editorial Page outline Simpkins’ crimes and sentences:

Let’s take a look at Simpkins’ record.

He racked up all those (56) convictions from a crime spree that began in Wythe County in December 1986 with two fraud charges and ended on February 1990 in Rockbridge County where he picked somebody’s pocket. Over that time he racked up convictions in 10 different localities between Augusta County and Smyth County.

Simpkins showed a fondness for armed robbery — 14 such instances, which generally brought multiple charges, such as using a gun during the commission of a felony and wearing a mask.

In November 1989 he was convicted of two robberies in Pulaski County — sentenced to 30 years with 20 years suspended on one charge and 28 years to serve consecutively in another, meaning between the two he should have served 38 years on those two charges (10 years for the one robbery, 28 on the other). Based on that, he shouldn’t be getting out until 2027. (No, we can’t explain why he was sentenced for those charges on Nov. 20, 1989, yet was still out in February 1990. That’s just one of many mysteries about this case.)

Other charges were more serious. Simpkins was found guilty of abduction with intent to defile in Botetourt County and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He was also found guilty of forcible sodomy in Botetourt County and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Not long afterward, a court in Augusta County convicted Simpkins of robbery and sentenced him to 40 years in prison — 26 to be served concurrently with the Botetourt time for forcible sodomy and 16 to be served consecutively, which ought to add up to 76 years in prison.

Based on that, Simpkins shouldn’t be getting out until 2066.

But, as Ralph Northam said recently in a press conference our governor believes in parole because he “believes in second chances.”

As The Times points out, Northam’s appointees believe in 57 chances.

Because Simpkins was sentenced prior to 1995 when Virginia abolished parole, his case presumably came up regularly before the Parole Board. No Board was reckless enough to release him until the crew holding the keys to the cellblock in 2019.

Turn out the Pulaski County robbery isn’t Simpkins’ only new charge. The Roanoke newspaper reports that he’s also facing 28 other charges in four other localities plus a probation violation in Wythe County. In all, that’s 30 charges in the 13 months Simpkins was out of prison.

Why did the Parole Board spring Simpkins? Was it because he had found Jesus in prison? Was he a model prisoner who simply bided his time until the suckers on the board released him?

We’ll never know unless a board member develops a conscience and talks.

The McAuliffe and Northam  administrations have been determined to refit Virginia’s prisons with the revolving doors that came off in 1995 when the commonwealth abolished parole.

Their soft-on-crime appointees are so busy  waving their “magic wands of freedom” that they fail to wonder if the judges and juries might have had good reasons to award lengthy sentences in the 1990s.

Fact is, Virginia’s Parole Board is a danger to the commonwealth.

There’s only one way to stop them.

On Election Day.

This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.