Killing Caught on Cell Phone Voicemail

A cell phone voicemail recorded a man shot to death by an off-duty SEPTA police officer.

Hear some of that audio right here on NBCPhiladelphia. (Click the WATCH VIDEO box on the left)

Here’s how the shooting allegedly went down:

Joe McNair and SEPTA police Sgt. Darryl Simmons got into an altercation on a Perkiomen Township road in Montgomery County on September 17, 2008.

McNair had made a call on his cell phone.

The person McNair called didn't pick up so the call went to voicemail, recording the rest of the incident.

Simmons has never been charged in connection with this incident. According to his attorney, he insists he acted in self-defense. Simmons says he thought McNair was reaching for a weapon. Police later searched McNair's car and did not find a weapon.

McNair's family later learned of the voicemail recording and believe it sheds new light on the incident. They took it to the Montgomery County District Attorney's office and now to the NBC10 Investigators.

Simmons' attorney insists the recording doesn't change a thing and in fact, feels the recording may be illegal and in violation of Pennsylvania's wiretap law. Montco D.A. Risa Ferman says, "One difficult issue with which we are grappling is that our research suggests this recording may violate the wiretap act." If it does break the wiretap law, the recording would not be admissible as evidence.

Simmons' attorney says what's on the tape is the tail end of a 2-year argument. He and residents say McNair, a convicted felon with an extensive criminal background, terrorized neighbors for years and bullied them with his pet rottweilers.

 If you have a story idea for the investigators call their tipline: 610-668-5643.

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