A McLennan County jury on Friday found Rickey Donnell Cummings guilty of capital murder for the shooting deaths of Tyus Sneed, 17, and Keenan Hubert, 20.
Cummings gunned them down while they were sitting in a car in front of the Lakewood Villas on Spring St. in Waco on March 28, 2011.
Prosecutors argued Cummings thought Hubert had killed his friend Emuel "Man Man" Bowers III in a Waco park in 2010, and Cummings was seeking retaliation.
Jurors deliberated for nearly three hours before returning the verdict.
While families of both the victims and the defendant obeyed the judge's instruction to remain calm when the verdict was read, both sides of the courtroom quietly cried.
Later, the victims' family members rejoiced in the parking lot and demanded death row for Cummings, who now faces the death penalty or life in prison.
"I think they should bring back the electric chair because he deserves it, but we're happy with the lethal injection," said Hubert's cousin Shamika Kujabi, later singing a song about justice.
Sabrina Glasker, another cousin of Hubert, barely got her words out as she cried tears of joy outside the courthouse.
"I'm shaking right now," Glasker cried. "Too excited."
Every other family member of Hubert and Sneed said they want Cummings to be sentenced to death.
"That was my Christmas Eve baby," Dawn Johnson said of her son, Keenan Hubert. "That was my heart. He took care of me. He took care of everybody."
"He was a good person. He'd give you the shirt off his back. He wouldn't ask for anything," Hubert's father, Artie Matthews said, adding, "One down, three to go."
Cummings is just one of four men charged with capital murder in the shooting.
Robert Sneed said he has been hurting every day since his son Tyus was
killed. He thanked state prosecutors, as well as Waco Police, for their
"Picture perfect. Picture perfect," Sneed said of the verdict. "God is good."
Hubert's and Sneed's cousins who packed the courtroom every day said Friday's outcome was the first step to any closure they could ever get.
"It's not going to bring him back," Aphtan Daniella said of her cousin, Keenan Hubert, "but I'm very happy that he's not going to be on the streets anymore committing no more crimes."
Dozens of deputies and police officers from Waco and neighboring cities covered all areas of the courthouse property to ensure safety with high tension between families.
"We had K-9's, we had people in the parking lot, we had people of course at all the entry points, we had people with the jury, we had people in the courtroom," McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch said.
In closing arguments, Cummings' defense attorneys claimed the state had "no gun, no DNA, no reliable evidence." They tried to discredit the testimony of state witness Nickoll Henry who said she saw Cummings with his gun jammed trying to continue shooting the two wounded victims, Marion Bible and Deontrae Majors, who ran into her apartment. Henry admitted she heard voices and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder after the murders.
State prosecutors, however, said investigators never found the murder weapon because Cummings and his accomplices got rid of their guns with the help of Albert Love's uncle in Killeen.
Love is also facing a capital murder charge in the shooting.
The state also accused the defense of trying to "rewrite the testimony in the case." Defense attorney Russ Hunt, Sr. reminded the jury that Cummings testified that Henry had initially identified his brother Tyrece Richards as the shooter, but changed her statement. Henry denied telling police that. The state objected twice to Hunt's suggestions that she did. Judge Ralph Strother instructed the jury to refer to their memory of the testimony.
Cummings' attorney Walter "Skip" Reaves told the jury the "worst injustice" would be to "convict Rickey of a murder he didn't have anything to do with."
Prosecutor Greg Davis fired back in his closing argument, asking if "an innocent man" would go to visit his grandmother at the Lakewood Villas armed, threaten to shoot someone, later try to get rid of evidence and delete text messages. Davis called Cummings "a ruthless, cold-blooded murderer who participated in the attack that took two lives."
Davis said Cummings and those close to him tried to intimidate witnesses and they never would have expected "the good people of East Waco" to have the courage to testify.
After the judge read the jury's verdict, Cummings turned to his sobbing family, made a hand gesture for them to calm down and blew them a kiss, before leaving.
Cummings' punishment phase will begin on Monday morning.
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