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Reports reveal further details in fatal shooting of Robert Simpson in Mount Pleasant's I'On neighborhood

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Brittany Simpson bond hearing

Brittany Simpson, 31, suspected of shooting her father, Robert Simpson, appears by videoconferencing for a bond hearing Wednesday. Andrew Knapp/Staff

Susan Simpson was asleep in the guest bedroom of her home at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in Mount Pleasant early Tuesday morning when she was awakened by a series of loud noises.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

Simpson heard her husband yell. Her daughter Brooke and Brooke's boyfriend ran downstairs to see what was happening. That's when Simpson saw blood coming from under the master bedroom door.

Mount Pleasant police released supplemental reports on Friday containing previously undisclosed details of a fatal shooting in the town's affluent I'On community this week. These details, and others contained in the 17 pages of reports, describe the crime scene, the statements of family members and neighbors, and the alibi of the suspect, Brittany Simpson.

The 31-year-old Mount Pleasant resident is accused in the shooting death of her father, 66-year-old Robert Simpson. She blamed the shooting on an intruder until investigators found her clothes and a gun submerged in a creek behind the home. She was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

Robert Simpson was still alive when officers arrived and one of them kicked in the master bedroom door to help him. He had suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. Firefighters were sent in and began providing medical care but Simpson died, the reports said.

Investigators recovered a projectile on the floor of the entrance to the bedroom, the reports said.

In the reports, Susan Simpson told detectives that her daughter, Brittany, walked through the front door following the shooting.

Brittany told her mother she was at the gym and that she ran behind someone through the back door toward a dock located on Hobcaw Creek behind the home, the reports said.

Susan Simpson told investigators that she had been sleeping in the upstairs bedroom because her husband snored and liked to get up very early, and she wanted to finish watching a television show the night before. Brittany Simpson told officers that she had been swimming at the I'On Club and had returned home to find the back door open.

Brittany, who spoke to her mother in an accusatory manner asked, 'Why did you leave the doors unlocked?'"

When Brooke Simpson and her boyfriend, Lief Eric Orvig, were interviewed by an officer outside of 30 Saturday Road she told the officer she did not know of anyone who would want to hurt her father, but that Brittany had been given a 24-hour notice to leave the home by that day.

Chelsea Simpson, another one of Robert and Susan's daughters, arrived and accused Brittany of the crime, telling officers that her sister was unstable, despite her mother's tears, according to the report. 

The neighbor who lives at 30 Saturday told police that she was walking her dog that morning when she saw a woman running on the dock, the reports said. The woman ran to the end of the dock and back to a residence.

In a later interview with detectives, the neighbor said she wasn't sure exactly who she saw but believed it was either Brooke or Brittany, the reports said.

A Charleston Police Department diver found a green Trailmaker Classic backpack in the creek behind the Simpson's home. Inside, police found a pink, 3-pound dumbbell, two t-shirts, pair of athletic shorts, black Allen gun case, black Sticky gun holster, and a black Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm handgun and magazine, the reports said. Four Luger 9mm rounds were found in the eight-round magazine.

According to affidavits, the handgun matched one kept in a bedroom that Brittany used as storage.

The clothes found the backpack matched what Brittany had been seen wearing earlier in surveillance video from a neighboring property, the affidavits said.

The killing rattled the I'On neighborhood where the Simpsons have lived for years. Many residents were left bewildered.

Brittany was a popular athlete in her teenage years. She graduated from Wando High School, later attending the University of Miami and the College of Charleston, her attorney, David Aylor, said.

She was unemployed lately, hampered by a disability that Aylor, declined to discuss. He also knew little about the shooting that he called "a tragedy ... affecting the entire family."

Simpson stayed at her parents' house without paying rent. She had helped cover the utility costs until March, when her mother sought her eviction.

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

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