State to seek death penalty against Michael Cummins in Westmoreland murders

Posted at 1:39 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-08 14:56:18-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Prosecutors in Sumner County announced their intention to seek the death penalty against the man accused of murdering eight people.

Michael Cummins was charged in a violent killing spree in Westmoreland in April.

On Thursday, Cummins was indicted by a Sumner County grand jury for 12 counts relating to the murders including first-degree murder of eight people, attempted first-degree murder, theft of a rifle and theft of a motor vehicle.

He was additionally charged with the premeditated murder and felony murder of one of the victims, Shirley B. Fehrle.

Prosecutors outlined four statutory aggravating circumstances allowing the State of Tennessee to seek the death penalty. These include Cummins previously committed one or more violent felonies, the murder was especially heinous and beyond necessary to produce death, the crime was a mass murder and one victim was over the age of 70 years old.

At least one statutory aggravating circumstance must be proven by the state beyond a reasonable doubt for Cummins to be sentenced to death.

He will be arraigned in the Sumner County Court on Aug. 23.


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