- Associated Press - Sunday, May 28, 2017

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) - A woman charged with killing her father in their upscale home on the South Carolina coast was behaving erratically in the months before the shooting, according to more than 30 police reports over a decade.

Brittany Simpson is charged with murder in the shooting of her father, Robert, in their Mount Pleasant home on May 9.

The police reports from the nearly three dozen calls for officers from or about Simpson in the past 10 years included fights between father and daughter, a drug arrest when Simpson was naked in a car and tossing neighbors’ mail into their yards, according to the documents reviewed by The Post and Courier of Charleston (https://bit.ly/2rcjdUs ).

Simpson, 31, shot her father with a gun that was legally in the home, police said. Investigators don’t have a motive for the killing, but legal documents show Simpson had just been given an eviction notice to leave her parents’ house.

The stack of police reports include a February 2016 call from Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton who told police Simpson came to her home in the neighborhood at odd hours and badgered her husband to buy her a truck.

The detective who spoke to Templeton called Simpson manic and paranoid. She told police they needed to do whatever it took - hospitalization or arrest - to get Simpson help, according to the police report.

Police first investigated Simpson in 2007, when family members called for help after she got into an argument with her father. Robert Simpson, who worked as a chaffer for film crews, had just returned home after an 18-hour day and turned off a treadmill that his daughter was using, authorities said.

There were more run-ins with police. In 2011, an officer on patrol pulled over Simpson and her boyfriend for speeding. He was in his underwear and she was naked. They found marijuana and an anxiety medicine in the vehicle, according to a police report.

In August 2014, she kicked her father and he slapped her during an argument as she moved back in, said police, who did not arrest either of them.

Later, Simpson’s father told police she called 911 whenever she didn’t get her way. Neighbors reported Simpson throwing their mail on the ground and yelling for them to pick it up.

Family attorney David Aylor said they didn’t want to talk to a reporter about Simpson’s problems out of respect for the family. “This has been a complete tragedy,” he said.

Legal papers show at least three emergency mental health commitments for Simpson, and police reports in the past year or so included family members saying Simpson was looking for a gun.

Authorities in these situations have to juggle ensuring mentally unstable people don’t get guns and protecting their right, said Paton Blough, a state board member with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“If someone talks about getting a gun, she hasn’t committed a crime,” he said. “But no one wants a person in a delusional state to have a gun. They could kill someone, thinking they’re doing good for their family or society.”

About 80 percent of patients with mental problems can get better with help, but treatment doesn’t work on everyone, Blough said.

“Getting a loved one help is one of the most difficult things,” he said. “You can have all the resources in the world sometimes. But it doesn’t always work.”

With all the calls, police kept a close eye on Simpson, but no crimes were committed and no one was in danger, Mount Pleasant Police spokesman Chip Googe said.


Information from: The Post and Courier, https://www.postandcourier.com

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