While investigators in Clay County are under orders not to speak to the public about a terrifying murder case near Cheaha State Park, the victim's girlfriend, Mikayla Paulus, who was with him when he was killed, is already speaking out.

Adam Cassim Simjee was shot and killed after he and his girlfriend stopped to help what appeared to be a stranded motorist. The Clay County Sheriff's Office previously determined that the woman on the roadside tried to rob Simjee at gunpoint. When Simjee shot the suspect in apparent self-defense, she fired back, killing him.

Yasmine Marie Hider, 21, of Oklahoma, and Krystal Diane Pinkins, 37, of Tennessee, have already been convicted in the federal cases against them. They will be sentenced in January, and both face life in prison.

"This marks the beginning of a chapter for me," Paulus said. "A chapter in which the people responsible for taking Adam's life have been held accountable. I have been dreading the day I'd have to go to trial since the first week of the tragedy. Yes, I had to relive the worst moments of my life, but I feel a sense of peace at the outcome and also gratitude for my support system, who has been there for me every step of the way. I would not have been able to make it through my testimony or those five grueling days in court if not for these incredible people who fought for me, cried with me, made me laugh, and constantly reminded me that my life is worth living."

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For the state case, the state of Alabama has requested the gag order to be lifted. The order prohibits trial teams and anyone involved in the case from speaking about the case. It also ordered Clay County Sheriff Jim Studdard to remove social media posts concerning the incident.

"The Defendant in this matter was subsequently charged in the Federal Court system and has since pleaded guilty," the motion states. "A need for the previously entered Protective Order no longer exists."

Clay County District Judge David F. Law previously said the protective order was needed because of a "substantial probability of material prejudice to the Defendant's ability to receive a fair trial..."

As for Paulus, she said she is thankful Simjee's name has stayed in the headlines. After taking a two-day trip and staying in Cheaha State Park, she said she was able to make good memories in the place where her soulmate took his last breaths.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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