Thursday, November 1, 2012

Accused trigger man says he didn't do the deed

Acknowledges allegations of retaliation

Waco – In classic testimony uncompelled by the criminal justice system and its intricate rules, an accused gunman took the witness stand in his own defense and contradicted eyewitnesses.

He said he was nowhere near “the gardens,” as Lakeside Villas are called, at the exact moment of the killings for which he faces a charge of capital murder.

If convicted, he will be sentenced to either death by lethal injection, or life in the penitentiary without the possibility of parole.

Audio portion of testimony captured by "multi-box"
Ricky Cummings will again take the stand this morning to answer questions from prosecutors asked in cross examination about his actions on the night of March 28, 2011. He and three other assailants who are scheduled to be tried separately later next year are accused of an attack by ambuscade on four men who sat smoking in a gang banger sedan in the parking lot of a subsidized housing project in east Waco. The shooting left two dead and two others severely wounded.

Young Mr. Cummings calmly admitted on direct examination by his attorney that he is accused of retaliating for the gun slaying of an associate named Emuel Bowers, III, in April 2010 at a nearby park.

He denied his alleged culpability for the crime detailed in eyewitness testimony elicited by prosecutors during their phase of the capital murder trial that took place last week before the state abruptly rested in a move that surprised the judge and left opposing counsel off balance and seeking additional time to prepare the defense phase of the trial.

Another told jurors that she saw Mr. Cummings and two others running, guns in hand, toward the scene of the shooting just prior to the attack. Yet another young woman testified that she saw a “long gun” in a car in which Mr. Cummings was seated and heard him say “I'm about to shoot somebody.”

One witness recalled that “it sounded like a war zone out there.”

The violence is believed to be part of a conflict between rival gangs affiliated with the nationwide combinations of the “Bloods,” who wear red colors, and the “Crips,” who are typically seen dressed in blue.

Both organizations are involved in sales of “crack” cocaine throughout the North American continent, coast to coast.

The Bloods, a criminal syndicate that originated in Chicago, typically wears bright red colors. The Crips, a south central Los Angeles combination, affects blue bandanas, ball caps, and jackets.

Tensions are running high between members of the families of the alleged gunmen and the victims. They are forced to sit on opposite sides of a cramped third floor courtroom of the 19th Criminal District in the Victorian-era beaux arts limestone and granite double-domed Italianate McLennan County Courthouse, an edifice built when men still went armed with Colt peacemakers, and cigar-smoking caballeros used cuspidors conveniently placed in the corridors and galleries.

Jurors are fearful their identities will be revealed amid reported threats to witnesses that have brought arrests. Judge Ralph T. Strother has banned the open display of cell phones anywhere on the third floor of the building. 

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