LINCOLN, Ill.- Paula Sims is a free woman. She was released from the Logan Correctional Center Friday a day after the Illinois Prisoner Review Board granted her parole.
Sims was serving life in prison without parole for killing her two infant daughters in the 1980s. Now, 62 years old, Sims has been serving more than 30 years in prison.
The governor of Illinois commuted her sentence and allowed for the possibility of parole.
Fox 2’s Mandy Murphy was at the institution Friday, a day after the Illinois Review Board voted 12-1 to release her. Sims’ lawyer told the board she was no longer a danger.
“She is cured. She is entirely well. She poses no threat to anybody and she deserves the opportunity to experience life outside of the walls,” said Sims’ lawyer.
The board did struggle with how Sims could kill her infant daughter, go on to have a son a few years later, then have another newborn daughter that she went on to kill.
A doctor told the board Sims’ husband isolated her and supported her only when she had a boy.
She was considered for early release because of a new Illinois law that gives women a chance for a re-sentencing hearing if they suffered from a maternal mental illness.
Two psychologists told the review board earlier this year that Sims was suffering from a rare disorder called Postpartum Psychosis. Sims did not use Postpartum Psychosis as a defense at her 1990 trial.
Sims’ friend Deb Helregel was the first person to hug her Friday after she was released. Helregel said she is “adjusting to accepting the fact that after 32 years she’s on the other side.”
Helregel also was there when Sims’ got the call that she would be released.
“She was very grateful,” Helregel said. “She said that several times. She is just so grateful and God is good.
Sims will now live with friends in Decatur Illinois. She has a job there and is hoping to move to Alabama, and open a dog grooming business.