Killer of Delaware high school football star gets 15-30 years in prison


Esteban Parra - Delaware Online

A 41-year-old man who killed a former William Penn High School football star last year over a Chick-fil-A bag has been sentenced to prison. 

Gregory Hylton was angry about the bag being left in the living room of the Bensalem, Pennsylvania, apartment he shared with 25-year-old Shareif Simpson. Hylton pistol-whipped, then fatally shot Simpson on March 9.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don’t think of Shareif," Hylton said at his sentencing hearing Thursday in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 

He received a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison.

"If I could give up my life to bring him back, I would," Hylton was quoted saying by the Bucks County Courier Times.

Simpson, a 2012 graduate of William Penn, was a standout athlete, playing a huge role in one of the biggest upsets in recent Delaware high school football.

Just 5-foot-7 and 153 pounds, Simpson rushed 18 times for 188 yards and scored two long touchdowns – one on a kickoff return – as William Penn won a 28-25 stunner at Middletown on Nov. 4, 2011. Middletown had been undefeated.

After high school, Simpson continued with the sport he loved, playing for the South Philly Red Raiders, which won the championship of the Philadelphia-based, semi-professional Independent Football League in November 2018.

He then began driving almost two hours to play for another semi-pro team, the Cumberland Valley Hitmen, who play their home games at Veterans Stadium in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

The Hitmen edged the Harrisburg Sharks 14-8 in their season opener on March 9 – the day Simpson was killed.

Under a Hitmen schedule posted on his Facebook page, Simpson wrote: "This Just Might Be My Last Football Tour. But Let's Make It A Great One."

Simpson also worked at Daily Dove Care, a non-medical home care service in Philadelphia. Hylton worked there, too. 

Simpson allowed Hylton to live in his apartment after the older man was evicted from his place, according to family. 

At Thursday's hearing, Hylton said he missed driving to work with Simpson and messing around with him there.

Initially, Hylton said the two were messing around when the gun went off and fatally struck Simpson, who was weeks away from his 26th birthday.

But authorities said Hylton was angry at Simpson over a Chick-fil-A bag that was out in the living room of their apartment. They said Hylton went into Simpson's bedroom and began choking him.

Hylton pistol-whipped Simpson before shooting him.

He was charged with criminal homicide and possession of an instrument of crime, but pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in September.

Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, or Twitter @eparra3.

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