Thursday, November 1, 2012

Prosecutor to defendant: 'The gun you fell in love with'

Accused murderer sweats it out on the stand
Para Ordnance .45 Cal. "Wild Hog" concealment model

Waco – As the grueling two hour cross examination of accused capital murderer Ricky Cummings wore on, the 23 year-old man began to look more and more bewildered.

His forthright demeanor weakened, his tone softened until he was barely audible. Judge Ralph T. Strother reminded him repeatedly to speak more directly into the microphone in front of his face where sat in the witness stand.

As the rapid questions came at him, fired with blazing speed from a proven prosecutor, a major dude from Big D and Georgetown with a lot of stuff on the hard ball, a pattern began to emerge, that of a beleaguered young man in way over his head and trying to bluff his way past the incisive questions of a seasoned prosecutor.

His tone and demeanor becoming more and more belligerent as the exchange wore on, finally, lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett said in acidic tones of Mr. Cummings' performance after a terrified woman slammed the apartment door in his face where he had attempted to enter and finish off the two wounded men, “Like the coward you are, you ran away.”

He made no attempt to hide his disgust. He has a resume that includes stints as lead prosecutor in ultra-conservative Dallas and Williamson Counties.

In a fashion similar to all the other answers to those kind of penetrating questions, Mr. Cummings said that no, he didn't run away because he had nothing to run from. He simply was not present when the shooting took place.

Contrary to what Mr. Jarrett asked him, said Mr. Cummings, he had no need to shoot the two wounded men and eliminate any witnesses to the killings. He simply wasn't there.

In fact, he hitched a ride to a location a few blocks away with an acquaintance, and “inadvertently” left his cell phone and pistol in a large pocket on the back seat of the gang bangers' car when he alighted. That's when he heard the dozens of reports of rifle and pistol fire at Lakeside Villas, he testified.

“What's the single most important tool when you're selling drugs?” the prosecutor asked. Ricky Cummings couldn't answer. He wasn't selling drugs. The prosecutor filled in the blanks for him. He told the jurors it's the cell phone. Next most important, the gun.

Then he waved the .45 caliber Para Ordnance Wild Hog slim subcompact stainless steel concealment model ACP pistol in his face. It's just over $1,000 the copy new – about $500 used.

The same went for any questions regarding his status as a local chieftain in a street gang affiliated with the national crime syndicate, the Bloods, an organization founded in Chicago decades ago.

“Wouldn't it be disrespectful to say you were a Blood up till now, then say you're not?” the prosecutor asked him.

No, that wasn't a problem, for he had never said he is a Blood.

There is the tattoo that covers his entire back. It's a mural devoted to the death of his close friend, a “brother” named Emuel Bowers, III, who perished at the hands of gunmen in a park on Hood Street. The prosecutor showed a photo of the tattoo on the projector screen in the court room.

There are depictions of crime scene tape, a skull wearing ear phones and the notation “See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil.”

Mr. Jarrett asked if that doesn't mean “You'd better not say anything.”

Then there's a crescent moon and five-pointed star, “Death before dishonor” - in remembrance of the time he almost joined the Marines, then backed out - and incidences of the letter “s” crossed out and replaced with the figure 5 – a national symbol of the Bloods to commemorate an important date in their founding in May of a year several decades in the past.

Mr. Cummings denied it all, but his story was getting weaker and weaker.

Matters had gone downhill for him from the get go when jurors were handed a transcript to interpret the lyrics of a brief video made “In loving memory of” Emuel Bowers, III.

The lyrics, written by Mr. Cummings' younger brother when he was still in high school, have such things as “Starch it down, fire it up.” It's a veiled reference to shooting people, according to the prosecutor.

Cummings denied it all.

He had never heard of an organization called the “Hood Street Boys,” but he is in a video with his brother that begins with a golf cap imprinted with their logo doused in an accelerant and lit off with a match – going up in flames.

In all questions regarding the video, he said he didn't write the lyrics, so he doesn't know what they mean.

"Come on!" Mr. Jarrett fairly shouted. "This is about shooting people, isn't it?" 

Mr Cummings finally admitted saying that, “If I wasn't paying attention, I would think someone in that car was trying to hurt me” when the Mercury Marquis, the car in which the young men were sitting when they were shot, swerved in the parking lot of Lakeside Villas where he was walking, as if to clip him as it passed.

With each question and answer, the prosecutor put more evidence in the minds of the jurors that will place Ricky Cummings on the scene of the fatal shootings.

“What you're doing is you're trying to build an alibi, aren't you?” Mr. Jarrett asked him.

He doesn't need an alibi. He was not there, said Ricky Cummings, though three women said he was there. They saw him. One of them, a terrified woman wounded by a stray bullet that penetrated the wall of her apartment and grazed her leg, said she stood terrified and watched as Mr. Cummings tried to clear a “stove pipe” round in the expensive .45 Mr. Jarrett referred to as “The gun you fell in love with.”

But Ricky Cummings said he does not need an alibi.

And then the defense rested.

Closing arguments begin tomorrow on the third floor of the McLennan County Courthouse in 19th Criminal District Court. All spectators who are not seated will be barred from the entire floor. No cell phones will be allowed, according to a ruling from Judge Strother.

What jurors saw in the video...

No comments:

Post a Comment