Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Police hold hair stylist's boyfriend

He's arrested on murder warrant

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ANDERSON TWP. - The live-in boyfriend charged with murder in the death of a Union Township woman found dead in the trunk of her car last week was in custody Tuesday night after being arrested in Brownsville, Texas.

Brian Heffernan was arrested Monday on a murder warrant from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said..

Until his arrest, Heffernan, 37, who was living with Gail Sims, 46, in her Union Township home for at least a year, hadn't been heard from since last week, hours before her body was discovered June 16, her friends said Tuesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Heffernan was arrested at the Gateway International Bridge Monday after one of their officers checked the national crime data base and determined that the 1992 Chevrolet Suburban he was driving was reported stolen and that Heffernan had an outstanding murder warrant.

A murder warrant filed with Hamilton County Municipal Court shows the sheriff's office is charging Heffernan based on "facts and circumstances of the investigation."

Heffernan was in the Cameron County Jail in Texas Tuesday night, officials there confirmed.

Sims' family, friends and co-workers at Noggins hair salon on Beechmont Avenue said Heffernan had been abusive toward Sims.

The latest rift erupted June 11 after one of Sims' friends, Steve Terrell, 59, of Union Township said he told her he suspected Heffernan had stolen $100 out of his wallet.

Terrell told Sims he did not want Heffernan in his home again, but warned her not to say anything to Heffernan because he feared Heffernan might harm her.

But Sims confronted him anyway, the couple argued and Sims stayed with Terrell and his fiance, Pam Smith, up until two nights before she was found dead.

"She said she was scared and didn't want to go home," Terrell said.

On June 14, Sims called Noggins and told manager Linda Nichols she would miss work June 15 because she planned to file for a protective restraining order against Heffernan, Nichols said. Sims had told Heffernan he had to move out, Terrell and Smith said.

Such charges were never filed in Clermont County court, where Heffernan was convicted in 1994 of domestic violence against a different woman, according to Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg.

"He called all night every night and threatened her and threatened me and said he would burn her house down and he was going to kill her if she didn't come home," Terrell said.

William A. Weathers of the Enquirer contributed to this report.


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