Cummings sentencing hearing begins - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

9.2.04

Cummings sentencing hearing begins

Paul Cummings sentencing hearing begins less than 24 hours after a jury of 12 men and women convicted him of first degree murder.

In opening arguments for the punishment phase of Cummings time in court, the state asked jurors to give Cummings the death penalty and defense lawyers asked them to spare the 24-year-old's life.

It's been almost two years since 64-year-old Jane Head was found stabbed to death in her Dogwood Drive mobile home. It took only two hours for a jury to convict Cummings of first degree murder on Tuesday evening.

Following opening arguments, the state revealed it's newest weapon, a taxi cab driver. This was the first time the jury learned Cummings was found guilty last December of robbing the driver with a dangerous weapon. Just another aggravating factor supporting the death penalty, says prosecutor Ben David.

"You know how heinous, and atrocious, and cruel this murder was and that's the second aggravating factor," says David.

But defense lawyer Rick Miller asked the jury to spare Cummings life.

"We want you to understand that Paul needs to live in prison and not die on death row. We don't want Paul to be killed on death row. We're going to give you reasons why he shouldn't be, and that's what mitigation is all about," says Miller

The defense plans on revealing those midi gating factors with some 20 witnesses they will put on the stand. It could be another week before Cummings fate is revealed.

Stay with WECT News 6 for the very latest from inside the courtroom.

Reported By Nicole Konkal

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