Michael Cummins case: Key witness may remember more after surviving mass murder

Grandmother of suspect recorded answering questions
Posted at 2:01 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 19:57:55-04

WESTMORELAND, Tenn. (WTVF) — He's accused in the deadliest mass killing in Tennessee history. Now there are new developments in the case against Michael Cummins.

While his sanity remains a question mark, a key witness to the crime may be regaining her memory as prosecutors prepare for trial. Cummins is accused of killing eight people, including his parents, two years ago this month in Sumner County.

He will not stand trial until next April.

But when he does, a key witness -- who was a question mark -- will be providing testimony for the prosecution.

"It's not only complex, but horrific," that is how TBI Director David Rausch described the primary crime scene in spring of 2019. "There was blood. There were lacerations. It was just awful."

Six bodies were found in a Westmoreland home -- two more at other locations. The prime suspect -- Michael Cummins.

Those dead included his parents, an uncle and a child.

His footprints were found at the bloody scene, and he was caught with a victim's car.

A strong case made even stronger because one of the victims, Cummins' own grandmother, survived a brutal beating.

But, contrary to what some may think, it's not an open and shut case.

Mary Hosale, the grandmother, recovered from her physical injuries but had no memory of what happened. Now, two years later we've learned that may have changed.

Just this month, Hosale was recorded in court answering questions during a deposition.

What she testified to is under seal, but any memory she now has will be crucial in the prosecution of her grandson.

"She'll be the star witness because she'll be the only one who can actually place the defendant at the scene that she saw firsthand. That's a powerful witness," said NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

The other significant development? Cummins sanity -- or lack of it.

He continues to be evaluated, but for now is deemed competent to stand trial and the D.A. says he will seek the death penalty.

Some have wondered why so long before a trial?

The District attorney says it is a complex case with eight murder victims -- each being investigated separately. It's also a death penalty case which takes more time to prepare for lawyers on both sides.