WESTMORELAND, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three years later, the man believed to be behind one of Tennessee’s deadliest homicide cases still awaits trial. Michael Cummins faces charges for eight brutal murders in Westmoreland in April of 2019.
The eight bodies were found at three separate crime scenes, the majority at his family’s mobile home on Charles Brown Road.
The scene inside the small home was so bloody that it took two days for investigators to discover all six bodies. Cummins’ parents and a 12-year-old child were among the victims.
“It was just a horrific scene,” District Attorney General Ray Whitley told News 2.
It was a scene no one could prepare for. The bodies of Cummins’ parents, his uncle, a 12-year-old girl, her mother and grandmother were all beaten to death, suffering blunt force trauma to the head.
“Brutal, brutal murders,” said Whitley.
It is one of Tennessee’s deadliest serial homicide cases, with two more victims found at two additional locations. Investigators say it was all at the hands of Cummins, who was 25-years-old at the time.
“We had eight people that were killed. It wasn’t an explosion or a fire or anything like that, where several people were killed at once. These people were killed individually so each one of the deaths amounts to what is a crime scene. They have to be worked individually,” said General Whitley, adding that it’s an unusual case that takes time.
While Cummins has been behind bars for three years, his trial isn’t set to begin until April 2023.
“Even though it’s three years and that seems like a long time, and it is, but this is not something you can rush into a case of this magnitude.”
The layers of evidence inside the mobile home including dozens of bloody shoe impressions, broken, bloody baseball bats and the barrel of a broken rifle playing a vital role, as well as Cummins’ mental state as prosecutors seek the death penalty.
“People have to have confidence in our system and that’s what we are doing by seeking the death penalty in this particular case,” said General Whitley.
Three years later, the mobile home still sits empty, while next door a “for sale” sign stands. The owner, Pamela Sanabria, told News 2 she hasn’t felt safe since.
“It was so surreal,” she said.
The scene was something Sanabria always feared.
“He had a lifetime plan to kill his whole family, even I told his family he was going to kill them,” she explained.
Had she been home, she said she wouldn’t be alive today.
“I’m just lucky to be alive. He told them clearly I was to be the number one killed, I was to be his first kill.”
Cummins was out on probation at the time of the killings after trying to burn down Sanabria’s house and brutally attacking her.
“He told me he was going to kill me,” she said.
Today, she still struggles with what happened that day just yards from her front door, looking to leave the area for good.
“It’s too scary. It’s very scary.”
The sole survivor of the attacks, Cummins’ grandmother, passed away earlier this year. She recorded testimony that will be used in the trial.