VERMILION, OH — On November 18, 2009, 36-year-old Jeremy Simko was fatally shot in his home.
Investigators concluded that someone approached from behind him and fired a single shot from a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver into the back of his head.
Nearly 10 years later, his wife, Julene Simko, was indicted for his murder. Simko has always maintained her innocence, and continues to insist that her husband was shot by an intruder.
She also had an explanation for the two shell casings from the 9mm semiautomatic Smith & Wesson found by police at the scene: She said that she fired the shots to scare off the intruder, whom she believed could still be in the house, after finding her husband murdered.
Eventually, Simko was indicted for aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, and other charges related to the death of her husband.
The couple’s sex life took center stage during the trial, with Simko’s attorney repeatedly discussing their intimate encounters in graphic detail. The court also heard that Simko had suffered sexual abuse as a child.
At trial, the prosecution said that her motive was money — and what they referred to as a master-slave sexual relationship. The couple’s S&M relationship often involved taking explicit photos and videos of each other, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said that said tensions had been building in the couple’s North Ridge Road home in the days leading up to Jeremy’s murder, since the bank recently had denied the couple a loan to purchase property behind their home. The prosecution said the loan denial set Simko off, and that in the early morning hours of November 18 she crept into the bedroom and fired the fatal shot.
A gunshot residue expert testified in court that he found residue on the pillow, but that the science behind gunshot residue testing is not common knowledge. However, under redirect, he admitted that Simko, who had taken a class on forensic science at a local community college and watched true-crime TV shows, would most likely have an idea of how the process worked.
In 2017, Simko was given a sentence of 28-years-to-life for Jeremy’s murder.
“I hope she’s miserable in prison every day and every night. It’s been a lot of time, but we finally got justice for Jeremy,” Simko’s father-in-law, Robert Simko, said following the sentencing. Robert Simko told reporters that he believed if Simko was unhappy in her marriage, she could have just left rather than committing murder.
Main photo: Julene Simko [Lorain County Jail]