By Mark E. Vogler
---- — RAYMOND — Police say convicted murderer Douglas Simmons has been living in town illegally for more than a year.
But it took a 14-month investigation by detectives of the Raymond Police Department to prove it, culminating in yesterday's arrest for failing to properly register as a sex offender.
Simmons, 52, who is listed with the state's sex-offender registry as living in Manchester, was charged with a class B Felony offense of Duty to Inform. He is due to appear at the 10th Circuit-District Division-Candia Court on Aug. 26.
He served 22 years in prison for the 1981 kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Michelle Spencer in Norwich, Conn. He strangled the girl with a phone cord and then sexually assaulted her body.
Classified as a tier III sex offender, Simmons is required to register with the law enforcement agency where he resides on a quarterly basis, according to Lt. Michael Labell.
But Raymond police started receiving tips last year that Simmons was living in Raymond, Labell said in a one-page statement. Police executed three search warrants in connection with the investigation.
"We had search warrants at both houses — the one where he's staying at and the one he's registered at," Corpl. Kerry Pomeroy said in an interview last night.
Police arrested Simmons yesterday morning after he had left his home in at new housing development in town, according to Pomeroy. He would not identify that location.
"He was trying to keep a low profile. He has been living with an acquaintance," Pomeroy said.
Simmons' move to Derry in January 2008 sparked community outrage, particularly among parents who were concerned that he was living within a mile of three schools, a park and a town library.
The Derry Town Council considered adopting a local ordinance to restrict sex offender housing, but wound up tabling the idea.
Soon after the outcry, Simmons moved back to Connecticut. Police there later charged him with failing to notify the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry when he moved in 2006. But, he walked out of court with no jail time and no probation after showing proof he was properly registered as a sex offender in Manchester.