and County of Denver District Court No. 12CR10292 Honorable
William D. Robbins, Judge Honorable Kenneth M. Laff, Judge
J. Weiser, Attorney General, Kevin E. McReynolds, Assistant
Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellee
G. Walta, Alternate Defense Counsel, Denver, Colorado, for
1 Eighteen years after defendant Samuel Sims and three
accomplices committed a brutal home invasion, the People
charged Sims with murder, attempted murder, and sexual
assault in connection with the incident. A jury convicted him
of all charges.
2 On appeal, Sims challenges his convictions on three
grounds: (1) the "superseding" indictment, which
contained only a single, amended sexual assault charge,
divested the district court of subject matter jurisdiction
over the charges contained in the original indictment; (2)
the sexual assault charge was barred by the statute of
limitations; and (3) the district court erred in excluding
testimony, under the rape shield statute, that one of the
victims was a prostitute who had traded sex for drugs.
3 We reject Sims's challenges and therefore affirm his
4 On July 12, 1994, Sims, Jackie McConnell, and two other men
broke into the home of Mack Martinez, a drug dealer known to
McConnell, in search of drugs and money. Once inside, the
four intruders bound Martinez and his two house guests,
tortured them, and slit their throats. Only Martinez
survived. Before they murdered Martinez's female friend,
J.G., Sims and one of his accomplices raped her.
5 The police recovered DNA evidence from J.G.'s body, but
testing did not lead to any suspects. In 2009, police
obtained a DNA sample from Sims. They later conducted further
forensic analysis of the DNA evidence and determined that
Sims was the major source of the DNA recovered from
J.G.'s vagina, and that he was a likely source of the DNA
recovered from J.G.'s anus. (According to the
prosecution's DNA expert, the chances that someone other
than Sims was the source of the DNA from the anal swab were 1
in 7.9 billion.)
6 In 2012, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Sims
with two counts of first degree murder after deliberation,
two counts of first degree felony murder, one count of
attempted murder, and one count of sexual assault. The sexual
assault count tracked the then-current statutory language,
so, before trial, the prosecution obtained a second
indictment charging Sims with one count of sexual assault
under the 1994 version of the statute.
7 At trial, the prosecution presented testimony from
Martinez, McConnell (who had entered into a plea agreement
and was cooperating with the prosecution), and four other
witnesses (friends or acquaintances of Sims) who testified
that, shortly after the home invasion, Sims had confessed his
involvement in the crimes.
8 Though Sims had initially denied knowing J.G., at trial he
suggested that his DNA was present in J.G.'s vagina
because he had traded drugs for sex with J.G. at around the
time of the murders. To support that theory of defense, he
sought to present testimony from a former roommate of
J.G.'s that, a year before her murder, J.G. worked as a
prostitute and occasionally traded sex for drugs with her
suppliers, one of whom had the same nickname as Sims. The
court excluded the roommate's testimony under the rape
9 As noted, a jury convicted Sims as charged.
Superseding Indictment Did Not Divest the District Court of
Jurisdiction Over the Original Indictment
10 The original indictment was filed in December 2012. In
addition to the murder and attempted murder counts, the
indictment charged Sims with one count of sexual assault
under the 2012 version of the sexual assault statute.
See § 18-3-402(1)(a), (5), C.R.S. 2012. But the
language of the 1994 version of the statute, in effect when
Sims was alleged to have committed the crime, was slightly
different. See § 18-3-402(1)(a), (3), C.R.S.
11 After initially moving to amend the indictment, the
prosecution elected to return to the grand jury for a second
indictment charging sexual assault under the earlier version
of the statute. A "superseding indictment," which
contained only the new version of the sexual assault count,
was filed in July 2014, seven months before trial.
12 Sims contends, as he did in the district court, that the
"superseding" indictment supplanted and nullified
the original indictment, thereby divesting the district court
of subject matter jurisdiction over the murder and attempted
murder charges. We disagree.
13 We review questions of law, including challenges to the
court's subject matter jurisdiction, de novo. People ...