Michael Cummins appears in court to determine if he can be executed if convicted

Posted at 5:24 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 19:29:57-05

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — The man accused in the Westmoreland mass murder, Michael Cummins, appeared in court Thursday. The case is known as one of the worst mass murders in Tennessee history.

It's been a lengthy process to get to this point. Cummins' has had to undergo mental evaluations to make sure he was even fit to stand trial, which has caused delays on top of the pandemic.

Cummins is accused of killing eight people, including his parents, in Westmoreland in 2019.

Thursday's hearing marked another step toward the trial beginning with a debate around his mental competence to determine whether or not he can be executed. This is because prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he is convicted.

Despite being found competent, it's possible Cummins is found so profoundly disturbed he cannot be executed. If he's convicted and deemed not fit for execution, he would face life in prison without parole.

He's set for two separate trials, with the first slated for April 12.

His grandmother Mary Hosale survived the attack, but passed away last February. The district attorney did a video deposition with her, but we're told she did not remember any details of the assault.

Cummins has undergone mental health therapy and treatment over the last three years with antipsychotic drugs.