A jury sentenced Rickey Cummings to death on Wednesday afternoon for the murders of Tyus Sneed and Keenan Hubert. The judge said Cummings' death will be by lethal injection, and an appeal for the decision is mandatory, with a court-appointed attorney for Cummings.
On Friday, the jury convicted Cummings of capital murder for the shooting at Waco's Lakewood Villas on March 28, 2011.
Before jurors left the courtroom on Wednesday, the judge thanked them for their service and the "heavy responsibility" they had.
In order to decide on the death penalty, the jurors had to answer yes to the first two special issues and no to the third. The first issue was whether or not Cummings is a threat to society. The second, did Cummings actually cause of the deaths of Hubert and Sneed or anticipate their deaths? The third question was whether or not any mitigating circumstance from evidence, Cummings' character or moral culpability warrants life in prison.
Attorney Russ Hunt Sr. asked Judge Strother to poll the jury after the sentencing; all jurors agreed they answered yes to the first two issues and no to the last, arriving at the death penalty.
More than a dozen law enforcement officials were in the courtroom for security, around and between the victims' and Cummings' families when the sentencing was announced. Judge Ralph Strother told the families to remain composed and that any outcries would require him to remove people from the courtroom.
Six people gave victim impact statements, including Hubert's and Sneed's fathers.
"I see you like tattoos. You like needles? You're going to have one waiting for you," said Hubert's father, Artie Matthews, referring to lethal injection.
"Do you know what it's like finding your own child riddled with bullets?" Sneed asked. "May God have mercy on your soul."
Marion Bible, who was wounded in the 2011 shooting, stared Cummings down and spoke to him.
"You messed up my whole life," Bible said, adding that he walks around Waco constantly watching his back, "I don't feel sorry for you. You didn't feel sorry for me."
The other shooting survivor, Deontrae Majors was working, so his mother read her son's statement.
"We wanted to grow old together, be fathers together," Majors wrote, of his best friend, Keenan Hubert.
Majors wrote that he can't sleep because he hears Hubert and Sneed screaming for their lives.
Hubert's cousin, Aphtan Daniella, showed Cummings a picture of Hubert's son, who wasn't even one year old when his father was killed.
"You're going to have to answer to God," Daniella said, calling him the son of the devil. "You're not a man. You're a coward."
Cummings shook his attorneys' hands, smiled slightly and told his family, "Don't cry."
"They convicted him, in my opinion, on 'He said, she said,'" Cummings' grandmother Erma Richards said.
"I knew today coming into this - I told my family, 'Be prepared, because I am. They're going to come back with the death penalty,'" Elma Richards, Cummings' mother said.
During the trial 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.
Three more men are awaiting their capital murder trials for their alleged roles in the shooting.
Monday, May 20 2013 6:02 PM EDT2013-05-20 22:02:13 GMT
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