In their sleep

Detra Rainey, 39, was the mother of 5 children- Christian Rainey, 21, William Rainey, 16, Hakiem Rainey, 13, Malachai Robinson, 8, and Samenia Robinson, 6. Detra worked at the local hospital, she was attending nursing school, and was undergoing her second round of chemotherapy for colon cancer. Her oldest child, Christian, was away attending college.

More than a year ago, Detra Rainey stood before witnesses and said her marraige vows with Michael Simmons, 41. Simmons was disabled and unemployed. Neighbors have reported the family as a nice family, the children played with several other children in the neighborhood. They attended vacation bible school and sang in the choir.

Sunday, police received a call from a witness who reported seeing bodies in the home. When they responded they found Michael Simmons driving away from the home. 

Inside the home, police found the bodies of Detra Rainey,  William Rainey, Hakiem Rainey, Malachai Robinson, and Samenia Robinson. Reportedly all had been shot with a hand gun. Allegedly the family was killed sometime between 3 am and 5:45 am they were thought to have been killed in their sleep. 

Michael Simmons has been arrested and charged with 5 counts of murder, he is being held without bond. Police are saying a domestic dispute led to the murders. Reportedly when Simmons was taken into custody he told the deputies to “tell Mister Gene I apologize.” Gene Fanning is reportedly a brother-in-law who married into the family.                     


He sends a message to tell his brother-in-law he is sorry, but nothing for the sister of his wife, or her only remaining child.

Police say the family was killed as a result of a dispute, but the family was thought to be asleep when they were killed.

Many unanswered questions here, and in the days and weeks to come some answers may be found. But as always, why this family, why the kids, I don’t think I will ever understand.

Both Crime Scene Blog and Southern Sass on Criminal Activity Today have more information on this crime.


Two weeks ago Detra Rainey and Michael Simmons were celebrating their anniversary together. The family did a lot of things together and were thought to be happy. It was Samenia Robinson’s birthday, she had just turned 7 years old.

A neighbor saw the families bodies through a window and called police. Simmons, who was captured while driving away from the mobile home park, had the gun in his possession when he was stopped.

Family, friends and neighbors are talking about the tragedly. They report the family was close. That her children were everything to Detra and the children took care of her mother after her illness.

To relatives the relationship between Detra and Michael Simmons appeared to be good. Simmons was not the children’s father but he appeared to love them and encouraged them in sports. No one appears to be aware of any fights in the household.

Reportedly on Sun. several neighbors have reported they saw him sitting on his porch, some have described him as appearing ‘fidgety’. Neighbors do not recall hearing an argument or gunshots on Sat. night/Sun. morning.

Simmons had the nickname “Chopper”. Reportedly he had a criminal history. In 1988 he was convicted of armed robbery, assault and battery with intent to kill, and burglary.                   


Christian Rainey says that when his mother was battling colon cancer he had promised her he would take care of his siblings if anything should happen to her. Now “Those were my kids, too,” “He just took my whole family away from me.”

Christian Rainey is a freshman at Southern University where he is majoring in computer science and with a minor in business. He has a 3.3 grade point average. Now he says he doesn’t know if he can continue to attend.

Christian Rainey says he never saw any serious problems with his stepfather, though he had some reservations about him and he felt that Simmons might have been jealous of their relationship. Others have confirmed that  he was a jealous person, and that he seemed jealous of the kids.

More details on the murders. A woman had gone to the home looking for ciggarettes and when entered the front door, she saw the body of 6 year old Samenia Robinson lying on the couch with a gunshot wound. She turned around and left and called police.

When police arrived Simmons had left, police found him a few blocks away, getting into a vehicle driven by a man from the neighborhood. In a jacket found in the vehicle, which the vehicle owner said was not his, police found a gun. Police have not verified if this was the murder weapon. Police believe the family had been dead about 8 hours before they were discovered.

Simmons had been released from prison on the previous charges in August 2004. He was still on parole, and would have been so until about 2012.       



  1. BAJ said,

    October 2, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    You are doing a fantastic job getting the word out. Please don’t stop what you are doing. I check this site daily.

  2. October 3, 2006 at 2:42 am

    LOL, thank you and thank you for letting me know. Sometimes it gets hard, and when it does I look back at comments like yours….they help.

  3. baraza10 said,

    October 14, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    This was a childhood friend of mine. I was notified shortly after my own family tragedy. As I am no longer living in the area, I found the most useful information on your blog.Thank you for posting news about the tragic ending but celebrated life of a friend whom I had not seen in too long.

  4. October 14, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    barazaio, I am sorry you have had a tragedy.

  5. sfpower4 said,

    October 15, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    I just wanted to say this is great use of information
    you have a great site going here
    Hakiem was one of my best buds and miss him so much
    Simmons just took him and his family away from everyone
    and thats not right
    He made every girl feel special and put a smile on anyones face
    And to anyone that knew him or his family:
    dont cry he wouldnt want that
    joke, laugh, enjoy life cuz who knows when your gonna leave but someday well see him again~

  6. Sean McPherson said,

    October 19, 2006 at 3:04 am

    I Really miss Hakiem he was such a good person,friend,classmate and football team mate. I would do anthing in the world to bring back Hakiem and his family cause school does not seem the same at all without Hakiem or life. Every morning I would see him and every afternoon from school to practice. Why thoe, Why would someone kill an anicent family, Hakiem and his family did’nt deserve this at all. I cant wait to see his smilling face again and I wish the best for Hakiem’s family

  7. India Holland said,

    March 6, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Detra Rainey was my aunt and her children were my first cousins. Everyday I’m living with the fact that I’ll never see the again here on this earth and my depression grows deeply. Sometimes I feel consumed with guilt because I never had the chance to say goodbye to them. I have nightmares, and frequent bouts of insomnia. It makes me ill thinking about Micheal. He took my family away. I loved my aunt so dearly. I’m 20 years old, her children were supposed to grow old with me, as well. But I have forgiveness in my heart for Micheal. Hatred does nothing but consume those envelope their lives around it. I just wish I had more time with them. And at their funeral it didn’t quite sink in that this was it. Its so unfair. I felt as though I had come to terms with soon after. But now almost 6 months later it hurts just as much as the day I found out, which happen to be the day before my birthday. Who knew the last time I would see them would be the day they lay before me lifeless at the wake. But justice will be served, and I’ll be there the day they finally take the life out of the man who took the life out of me.

  8. March 6, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    India, I am so sorry for what happened to your family. All I can really offer you is the fact that time does help. You concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, then get through one day. You do the same thing the next day. You cry when you need to. Eventually you get used to it. Then it gets bearable. Then someday you will want to laugh again, and that is ok. Because the only thing worse that can come out of this, is to allow the life of one more person to be stolen.
    You won’t forget them, they will always have a special place in your heart. You and many others have talked about Detra and what a good person she was. What do you think she would want for you?

  9. Sharday, a friend of Hakiem said,

    April 6, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for getting out the word. Everyone should know so this want ever haapen again. But yet this has happen I know they still be in rememberance forever don’t give up we can all fight to get the word out. But though i can’t feel your pain i know it must be hard to have to experience this. I am letting know I’m sorry this happened to your family and don’t feel threaten to shed a tear every once in a while it’s ok, because i don’t understand why people murder we’re all suppose to be brothers and sisters. But you keep your head up and try hard to achieve your goals. Love will always fill the air!!! love ya and family like if ya’ll my own pleae remember me and know that i care….

  10. Sharday, a friend of Hakiem said,

    April 6, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for getting out the word. Everyone should know so this want ever happen again. But yet this has happen I know they still be in rememberance forever don’t give up we can all fight to get the word out. But though i can’t feel your pain i know it must be hard to have to experience this. I am letting know I’m sorry this happened to your family and don’t feel threaten to shed a tear every once in a while it’s ok, because i don’t understand why people murder we’re all suppose to be brothers and sisters. But you keep your head up and try hard to achieve your goals. Love will always fill the air!!! love ya and family like if ya’ll my own pleae remember me and know that i care….

  11. Nicole Rainey-Pruitt said,

    February 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Detra was my sister and it hurts so bad her and the kids not being here. It feels like this just happend yeasterday. They are gone but never forgotten.

  12. Angela Johnson-Pinchom said,

    April 2, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I just want to say that I am deeply sorry about what happen to Detra and the family. I’m writing to let the Rainey family know who ever still reads these comments, that I just found out that Detra and her family is related to me by my grandmother. We didn’t know that my grandmother had family besides her own children, and I am very sorry to get thru to anyone from this side of the family this way. I just want the Rainey family to know that the Thompson-Johnson family sends our condulences to you all.

  13. mypicst said,

    April 12, 2008 at 11:53 am

    my pics

  14. shay chandler (neice) said,

    August 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    i jsut wana say dhat ii truley miiss muh aunty and mii liittle/biig cousiins so && williiam and ahkeiim had so much fun together..and ii just cant seem to figure out why woudld someone want to do such thiing to someone so sweet and loviing..ii loved muh aunty wiith all mii heart and she wiill always hold a key to muh heart!! .r.i.p

  15. September 11, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    we were the rainy family neighbors an also close friends the kids would come over to our house daily just to talk an play games. it was a very tragic loss for us an one that we will never forget we think about then daily an miss them very much. an our condolences go out to the family

  16. Aysha Deleston(Hakiem sister) said,

    September 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I miss them so much it hurts so bad to not see my brother. He was a sweet ,kind and loving boy.I cry almost everyday because its so hard to not see him near me.I Love U and you and your family will be truly missed

  17. September 12, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Aysha, I am so sorry for your loss. A brother is a precious thing and the loss hits hard. I lost a brother many years ago and I still miss him very much and think of him often. He was a few years older than Hakiem when he died. And yes it still hurts sometimes.

    Some people write stories or poems to the ones they have loved and lost. Some write them letters. When I think of my brother, sometimes I talk to him. I tell him that I miss him so much. I tell him what is happening to me, and how I wish he didn’t have to go. That is just how I handle his going.

    You will find your way too. But however you find to cope with this, it should include other people. When you think of your brother and do your crying, when it is over find a parent or someone you are close to and give them a hug. Talk to your parents and tell them how much you are hurting.

  18. ayana drayton(hakiems sister) said,

    February 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    i miss mi hurts me inside even thougth idont show it. because i really dont want to believe it but i know their gone.i haven’t cried since the day they died i guess i still don’t believe that there gone i went to see them today me and my mom we cleaned of there graves and i thought i would brake down but i didnt i didnt cry not one time.i guess all my anger come out when i fight. it been two years my brother is 15 years old and i cant even tell him happy birthday buut i know hes having a great time where he is
    i loved all of them like they were my brothers and sisterand i loved detra like a second moma i really miss you all,i love you

  19. February 10, 2009 at 7:36 am

    It is hard to finally admit they are gone. But because they are gone does not mean that you cannot go on. From the way you and others have talked about them they seem really special, loving people. If they could talk to you, what do you think they would tell you to do? Perhaps to remember them, but to go on and live life for them? To live and laugh and love for them? And it is ok to show that it hurts. And it is ok to cry. When we lose people we hurt, we cry. If we don’t show our grief, sometimes it will come out in anger. But the anger doesn’t help us to heal. Sharing our grief, our hurt does help. It helps us to get it out, and sharing the pain helps us to share the load.

  20. Timothy Ellerby said,

    October 8, 2009 at 1:29 am

    damn everytime i think about my couzin and the memories we had i miss them more and more,…its been about three yrs sence they died…gone but not forgoten…we still wear a R.I.P Hakiem shirts every oct 5th im gonna miss yall like hell cuz

  21. Candice said,

    April 9, 2010 at 4:33 am

    It’s been almost 4years. For some reason I just thought about Detra and the rest of my siblings tonight. Detra was my mother in America. I moved out of my Dad’s house at the age of 17 and Detra took me in. Everyone who knew her knew me as her daughter. We would fight just like mother and daughter. She didn’t treat any different from the rest of her 5 children and always introduce me to people as “my daughter, Candice” Although its been almost four years, it still hurts. Sometime I think I will see her again. I remember when I went away for college, she would drive 4hours to come pick me up for weekends and holidays. I remember talking to the kids and they always wanted to know when I am coming home. It hurts so much and I know they say time heals, but it doesnt make it any better. I love u Detra, William, Keim, Chai, and my little sis Menia. Rest in peace!!!

  22. Eugene "Boo" Hollington said,

    September 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I was always there for you and your kids. I was always considered your big brother who always laughed and joked with you. I miss that very much.There is not a day that goes by that I don”t think about you and the kids. You all are in a better place now, in the hands of the lord. May God forever bless you and keep you. I will always love each and everyone of you.

  23. zanaja(hakieemsister) said,

    November 19, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    omg!sitin in class cryin after look mi brother up on the internet man it so hard to it 2010 and seem lyk it happen yesterday.i luv yall

  24. ayana said,

    January 2, 2011 at 5:34 am

    well i haven’t been on here in a long time its new years another year without mii brother but im makin it thru lyfe barely but im makin im livin for mii brother and the rest of mii family HAPPY NEW YEARS mi dear family rest in peace mii sweeet brother i miss you i love you

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