The shooting occurred on Jan. 12, 2007, at a residence at 45 Church Street in Quinton. Gregory was shot with a .20 caliber handgun.
Simmons was indicted by a grand jury on the manslaughter charge for recklessly causing the death of Gregory. His trial was scheduled to begin on June 18, but he decided to enter a plea of guilty instead.
Judge Hoyt Elliott took the guilty plea and sentenced Simmons to 18 years in prison for the crime. The maximum allowed for a manslaughter conviction is 20 years.
Simmons did ask the court for a little time before beginning his sentence to get his affairs in order. Elliott denied that request and Simmons was taken into custody immediately.
Simmons was taken to the Walker County Jail, where he will be processed while the state department decides where he will spend the majority of his sentence.
The Walker County Sheriff’s Office investigated the shooting and Assistant District Attorney Bryan Warren said their involvement was crucial.
“We’re always very appreciative of their help getting these cases ready for trial,” Warren said. “They do a great job of that.”
Several members of Gregory’s family were in court for the plea and sentencing. They expressed satisfaction with the sentence and relieve be able to get some closure and begin to heal.
“This is part of our continued effort to clear the backlog of homicide cases,” District Attorney Bill Adair said.