State questions Cummings' alibi in murder trial, both sides rest - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


State questions Cummings' alibi in murder trial, both sides rest

WACO- Both state prosecutors and defense attorneys rested in the capital murder trial for Rickey Cummings on Thursday afternoon, after Cummings spent most of the morning being cross-examined.

Cummings is accused of shooting to death Keenan Hubert, 20, and Tyus Sneed, 17, while they were sitting in a car at East Waco's Lakewood Villas on March, 28, 2011.

State prosecutor Michael Jarrett asked Cummings about a music video created in Emuel "Man Man" Bowers III's memory. The video features groups of people on the street, many joining in a rap song that plays called, "Starch it down, flame it up." Cummings said his close friend Bowers wrote the song in 2005 or 2006, and many people he knows were in the tribute video.

Bowers was killed in a Waco park in April of 2010. State prosecutors accuse Cummings of seeking revenge for his slain friend's murder and killing Hubert, who he thought was responsible for Bowers' death. Jarrett called Sneed's death "collateral damage."

Jarrett insisted the lyrics, which the state provided to the jury in a transcript, represent "gangster life." The state maintains the murders were an act of gang violence. Cummings denied any involvement in an organized gang. Jarrett, however, pointed out seven times that the word "gang" was used in the song.

Many people featured in the video, including young children, are wearing red collared shirts and holding up hand gestures the state called gang signs. Cummings said the hand gesture is in the form of an "E" simply to symbolize East Waco. Jarrett showed a picture of Tyrece Richards, Cummings' brother, who was holding his hand up in a gesture Jarrett said was a sign of the Blood gang nation-wide. Cummings denied any knowledge of it.

Jarrett also displayed a picture of Rickey Cummings' back, covered in a mural tattoo. Jarrett asked Cummings about five-pointed stars, a pit bull, a crescent moon with a star, and the numbers together 5 and 9, all of which, Jarrett said, symbolize the Bloods. Cummings suggested all those tattoos could be coincidental.

Cummings admitted he meets with his friends every May 9th, but said he didn't know why the date was chosen. However, Jarrett again said the numbers 5 and 9 are significant to the original Bloods in California. Jarrett said the red-colored shirts also represent the Bloods.

Jarrett pointed out that Cummings never uses the letter "c" alone, and, if he needs to write "c," he follows it with a "k." "C.K.", he says, stands for Crip Killer. Crips are a rival gang. Cummings again, claimed he simply likes the letter "k."

Cummings had testified on Wednesday that he got a call in April, 2010, when Bowers was killed and he rushed to Bowers' side, taking his pulse and calling the police. He said he answered Bowers' phone when it rang and a man he later determined to be Paul Hall answered. Cummings admitted to taking Bowers' phone to figure out who killed Bowers but said he was not seeking retaliation.

Still under cross-examination on Thursday, Jarrett accused Cummings of tracking down Hall at his home and accusing him of killing Hubert. Cummings denied any threats or accusations against Hall but admitted to going to his home.

Sheila Bowers, Emuel "Man Man" Bowers' mother, was angry with Rickey Cummings, Cummings said, because he continued talking to Keenan Hubert, who she thought was responsible for her son's murder. However, Cummings and Sheila Bowers settled their differences at a memorial for "Man Man" on Oct. 31, 2010, he said. Cummings admitted, out of respect, he "pushed back" from any interaction with Hubert after that.
Asked about the night of the double murder on Spring Street, Cummings admitted he had been armed, holding a loaded .45-caliber pistol in his ankle holster, and also said he did have a conversation with a Lakewood Villas resident, using the sentence, "You live by the sword, you die by the sword."

He then said he received a call from Albert Love. The state showed phone records, verified by state rebuttal witness Steven Venable, that showed Love's and Cummings' separate phone signals were hosted by the same Metro PCS sector and tower.  That, Jarrett said, was proof the two men were in the same area. The call only lasted 16 seconds. 
Under cross-examination, Venable said the closest tower normally hosts each call, but obstructions, weather or other factors could affect the strength and change the tower. 

Cummings said he left the Lakewood Villas before the gunfire erupted and his brother, Darvis, picked him up so he could sell marijuana on nearby Clay Street. But, Cummings said, he left his gun and his cell phone in his brother's car. The state argued no drug dealer would ever be on the street dealing without those two items.

Cummings then said a man who wanted to buy crack cocaine told him about the shooting at the Lakewood Villas, 35 to 40 minutes after Cummings had heard the shots himself. Cummings said the man told him a car matching his brother's was involved, so he ran back to the apartment complex.

The state argued other witnesses during the trial established that Cummings was there before the police even arrived, not "give or take an hour."
Cummings said he first saw Albert Love at the scene, and then went to Brittany Snell's apartment to console her. There, he claimed, he used the bathroom and washed his hands, but then washed them again in the kitchen because there was no soap in the bathroom. Jarrett argued he was washing off the gunshot residue.
Asked about a text message from his phone to a woman's asking her to remove bullets from a house, Cummings said someone else must have been using his phone.
Another text from someone was about an alibi. Cummings said, "Maybe she didn't understand what the concept of alibi meant."
Jarrett showed a text message from Albert Love's phone to Rickey Cummings' early the next morning that read, "Tbuck5." T-Bucks was Man Man Bowers' other nickname.
The state accused Cummings and his accomplices of getting rid of their guns with the help of Albert Love's uncle who lives in Killeen. Cummings denied the accusation.
Finally, Jarrett said Cummings and people close to him tried to scare witnesses out of testifying, calling those witnesses brave for taking the stand.
The state then called Brittany Snell back to the stand. She admitted she had just agreed to a plea deal for a separate charge of failure to stop and render aid, but she said she did not enter into any agreement with the state in exchange for her testimony.
Both sides rested before 3:00 p.m. Judge Ralph Strother said he would have Cummings' charge ready to read to the jury on Friday morning at 8:00. Then final arguments will begin.
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