WESTMORELAND, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tuesday marked two years since the Sumner County slayings, one of Tennessee’s deadliest serial homicide cases.
The sole suspect Michael Cummins is still awaiting trial and potentially the death penalty for those 8 killings.
His mother, father and uncle were among the victims found in their Westmoreland home on April 27th, 2019.
“It was crazy, SWAT was everywhere down here going through every building we have on this property, which is a lot of buildings,” neighbor Carolyn Chambers told News 2.
“It was just hard to believe, I mean you know, you see somebody the night before, you know all of them, and all of a sudden, everybody’s gone,” Mike, another neighbor, said.
A 911 call led police to four bodies in the home of 25-year-old Cummins. His uncle, the uncle’s girlfriend, her mother, and daughter who was just 12 years old were dead. Cummins’ grandmother was seriously injured.
They also found a 69-year-old woman down the street dead, and her car stolen. The Westmoreland community immediately went on lockdown.
“We actually had come neighbors come to our home and ask if they could borrow a gun,” neighbor John Chambers.
Authorities found cummins hiding in the creek with a hatchet that night.
The next day, investigators also found the bodies of Cummin’s parents in the home as detectives continued to comb the crime scene.
In a stunning twist, nearly two weeks after the murders, officials linked Cummins to yet another death, involving a man who lived near the creek who was found decapitated 10 days before the mass killings.
“The only thing that kept him from coming down here and taking a right to where we’re at is these two dogs here. He knew they were here,” Carolyn Chambers said, “He knew better than to come down this way, so he went over the hill and killed that lady.”
The experience horrified residents. some say they would still like to move, others say they now bare arms.
“I got guns now!” Mike said.
“If it was your behind sitting out here in your house and you had a ravin maniac going around butchering up people,” Chambers explained, “I think you might learn to appreciate having that 38 sitting there in your lap, rather than sitting there going okay he’s coming in, what am I gonna do?”
At the time of the killings, cummins was on probation for setting fire to a neighbor’s home and assaulting her. He now faces the death penalty.
“I do not believe that they should put him to death…because at his age, and the upbringing he had, and the lack of direction he had in his life…I don’t know what put him over the deep end, I don’t know, but I know they grew up poor, real poor.” Chambers exclaimed. “I think he’s mentally ill, and I do believe in the death penalty, but I don’t think it would be right for him, he’s too young. He needs a chance to turn his life around even if it’s behind prison the rest of his life…at least realize there’s goodness in this world, there is an eternity we have to face one day, and he needs to have that chance.”
Cummins is at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville. A jury trial is set to begin in April of next year.