By SARAH BROACH
CBS focused an episode of “48 Hours Mystery” Saturday on
Stephanie Pepper Sims, a Tech English instructor who was murdered in January
The show’s crew conducted interviews and filmed locally
during the trial of suspect Wayne Guidry, Jr., and was in Ruston last month to
complete footage for the episode.
“It was like [Sims] just disappeared off the face of the
earth,” Hugo Holland, a Louisiana assistant district attorney who prosecuted
the case, said at the beginning of the episode.
Sims disappeared Jan. 5, 2003, and concern arose when she
did not appear to teach a class at Tech.
An investigation into Sims’ boyfriend, Guidry, led police
to discover her body at the Jackson-Bienville Management Reserve, where Guidry
often hunted, Feb. 13, 2003.
“48 Hours Mystery” host Peter Van Sant
interviewed Sims’ friend Ginger Stewart, who said Sims met Guidry in November
2002 at Stowe’s, located at 210 W Park Ave.
“She was vulnerable to something that seemed exciting,”
Stewart told Van Sant.
Van Sant also interviewed Sims’
estranged husband at the time, David Sims, and her parents.
“This was a child from heaven,” Sims’ mother, Barbara
Pepper, said in her interview. “She would tell me, ‘Mama, you’re my best
Guidry, 30, was convicted in 2005 of Sims’ murder, and
was sentenced to life in prison. “48 Hours Mystery” interviewed Guidry, of Luling, in prison.
“I love Stephanie and her family,” Guidry told Van Sant. “I didn’t kill Stephanie.”
Sims’ husband also expressed love for her, along with his
adamancy that while he had been a suspect initially, he had never hurt her.
“She was my best friend,” David Sims said. “She was sweet
and bubbly... I miss her a whole lot.”
As for a motive, Holland theorized that something Guidry
said in a police interview signaled why he might have killed her.
“I wanted to have what she and David had,” Guidry had
told police. Holland said that when Guidry realized that would never happen, he
Guidry maintains his innocence and is appealing his
In the meantime, Sims’ family members said they still
grieve their loss.
“I miss seeing her and hearing her voice,” Pepper said.
“The hurting, the ache, won’t stop. It’s worse than any kind of physical ache.”
Holland told Van Sant he was
satisfied with the court victory.
“No parent should have to bury a child,” Holland said.
“[Guidry] has to think about what he did every day for
the rest of his life.”