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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
A man who had been charged with murder in the shooting deaths of two bail bondsmen in April 2012 pleaded no contest Friday to two counts of voluntary manslaughter.
Stephen Michael Stewart, 28, is scheduled to be sentenced May 20. Prosecutors dismissed the murder charges and four other felonies.
The April 26, 2012 killings of brothers Zachary and Brandon Sims in southwest Bakersfield made national news and led to bail agents traveling from across the country to attend their funeral. Bounty hunter and reality TV star Duane "Dog" Chapman made a brief trip to the city.
The brothers had gone to a residence in the 7800 block of Kamloops Drive that day to apprehend then-24-year-old Zachary Perrick for skipping bail, according to police reports. Perrick told investigators he heard a knock on the front door and started to open it when Stewart, also in the house, tried to close it.
Brandon Sims, 23, stopped the door from closing and entered the house, Perrick said in the reports. Brandon Sims caught up to Perrick and grabbed him.
Stewart, armed with a .40-caliber Glock, fired a round at Brandon Sims, according to Perrick's statement. Sims let go of Perrick and Perrick ran from the house.
Perrick told officers he kept running and heard a volley of gunfire. The body of Zachary Sims, 26, was found in a hallway with wounds to his face.
The body of Brandon Sims was found outside by a southeast corner of the house, the reports said. A witness told detectives she heard screaming and yelling inside the house and then saw a man later identified as Brandon Sims run out the front door.
She said he tripped and fell in a flower bed and another man ran from the house and fired at him three or four times from close range, according to the reports. Stewart was arrested two days after the shooting when officers tracked him to a friend's house.
The brothers had worked for their father, Vincent Sims, at Bad Dog Bail Bonds.