Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Friend's Betrayal: The Murder of Tammy Epperson

The Search for a Motive

Since this crime appeared to be one of great rage, the detectives looked into her past to see who may have had a motive. Gazing around the apartment, they noticed that she had framed things that were important to her: photographs from her modeling assignments, a certificate showing her high school equivalency degree, and a certificate that showed she had completed a drug treatment program.

If it hadn't been for the murder, detectives would be looking at a neat, orderly apartment decorated with angels, flower comforters and doilies — a pristine environment at odds with her surrounding neighborhood.

Tammy Epperson
Tammy Epperson

A criminal check revealed that Tammy had done a stint in prison for theft and drug usage and had been out two years. She kicked the drug habit, checked into the Ballington and got a job as an office manager for a swanky Hollywood telephone answering service that catered to celebrities. A nearby church offered spiritual refuge and she became involved in counseling other drug abusers there. With such a kind face and friendly disposition, it was easy to jump to the conclusion that some spurned lover may have done this.

And, in fact, that was the type of clue detectives worked first because they had someone who said he knew the killer's identity. 

Ron Simms was Tammy's ex-boyfriend and a former addict. She broke up with him when he started using drugs and he had been trying to get clean so they could get back together. The pair was still great friends as Tammy continued to coach him into a better lifestyle. Simms kept an eye on her because she had met a man through counseling who began to stalk her.

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