A Canton man has been indicted by a Cherokee County grand jury on charges he killed his girlfriend on her daughter’s wedding day.

Jesse Lamar Simmons, 42, is accused of shooting his girlfriend in the chest in 2019 at a home on Burris Mill Road, according to an indictment filed Tuesday.

His girlfriend, Tammy Jean Gilbert, was alive when police responded to the home but later died from the gunshot wound, according to Cherokee Sheriff’s Office reports. She was 55.

Simmons called 911 reporting an attempted suicide, and told responding deputies his girlfriend had shot herself, per sheriff’s office reports, the Tribune previously reported. Gilbert had left the home earlier that day to attend her daughter’s wedding.

According to the sheriff’s office:

The owners of the home – a man and woman — told deputies they were asleep at the time the gunshot was fired were awakened and alerted by their 9-year-old granddaughter. The female homeowner said she did not believe Gilbert would kill herself.

Investigators found three guns on the scene, a revolver and two semi-automatic 9mm pistols. The revolver did not appear to have been fired, one of the semi-automatics had a full magazine and a bullet in the chamber, while the other was missing one bullet from the magazine, with one in the chamber.

After reviewing evidence at the scene, interviewing people who were in the home at the time of the shooting and interviewing Simmons, detectives arrested Simmons on murder and other charges and booked him in the Cherokee County jail.

Simmons is charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, tampering with evidence and violating Georgia’s controlled substances act, per the indictment.

An indictment is a formal charging of felony offenses, and defendants are assumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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