Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

State v. Jahiem Sims

Decatur, Ga.- DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston announces a conviction by jury trial in the case against a Snellville man accused of beating a man so severely it ultimately ended his life. 

On Monday, jurors found Jaheim Sims, 22, guilty on three counts of Felony Murder, Aggravated Battery, two counts of Aggravated Assault, and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony stemming from the attack on Mario Vasquez Lopez, 56, on September 10, 2020. 

As part of a plea deal, Sims’ Co-Defendant pleaded guilty to Aggravated Battery, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer. 

According to the investigation, officers with the Doraville Police Department responded to a call about an assault happening on Tilly Mill Road a few minutes before midnight.  When officers arrived, they found an unresponsive man, later identified as Vasquez Lopez, who had been severely beaten.  Paramedics transported him to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment.

A witness told investigators that he heard someone screaming and looked outside to see two men at the end of his driveway repeatedly punching and kicking the victim in the head.  He said it appeared the victim lost consciousness, but the attackers did not stop the assault.  At one point the two men dragged Lopez across the street and continued beating him. 

A short time later an officer located two men fitting the description of the suspects about a quarter mile from where the victim was found and the witness was able to positively identify them.

During an interview with detectives, the Co-Defendant said he and Defendant Sims were on a walk when they encountered Vasquez Lopez walking ahead of them on the sidewalk.  The Co-Defendant told investigators Vasquez Lopez bent down to tie his shoe and that Defendant Sims initiated the attack by kicking Vasquez Lopez in the back of the head. 

The Co-Defendant said the beating continued until they saw headlights from an approaching car.  The defendants threw the firearms they were carrying into the bushes and ran.  Investigators located the two guns on the side of the road. 

The investigation revealed that the attack against Vasquez Lopez was random and unprovoked.  Officers found the victim still had cash, a cell phone and other belongings in his pockets.  There was no evidence that Vasquez Lopez knew the defendants. 

Vasquez Lopez remained at Atlanta Medical Center for three months and underwent multiple procedures, including surgery to try to heal the severe brain injury he suffered during the attack.   Doctors determined he was unlikely to ever recover.  At the request of his family, Vasquez Lopez was transported by air ambulance back to Guatemala in December 2020 where his family cared for him at home for nearly two years.  Vasquez Lopez never regained consciousness and passed away in October 2022 from delayed effects of blunt force trauma to the head. 

Immediately following the guilty verdicts, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Stacey Hydrick, who presided over the trial, sentenced Defendant Sims to serve Life without the possibility of parole plus five years. 

Judge Hydrick sentenced the Co-Defendant to 30 years to serve 20 in confinement with the balance on probation. 

The case, assigned to the District Attorney’s Trial Line was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Lauren Caldwell with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Sam d’Entremont, District Attorney Investigator Leslie Moses, Victim Advocate Sandra Trejos-Roman and Victim Advocate Gaby Ziegenbein.  Doraville Police Department Det. Rogers led the initial investigation.