Cummings sentenced to death - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

9.9.04

Cummings sentenced to death

Paul Cummings stood calmly as the court clerk announces he's been sentenced to die. He stabbed Jane Head to death at a Wilmington trailer park two years ago.

Both families were in the courtroom as the clerk read the sentence Wednesday afternoon. The defendants brother cried out at the sentence, and grew angry as he was escorted from the courtroom.

Tears began to stream down the faces of other relatives, who were hoping he'd be sentenced to life in prison.

Cummings had been abused as a child, the defense says, unstable when he committed the crime.

Joani Carson was on the other side of the room. She's the mother of Jane Head's grandson.

"My child will grow up without his grandmother," Carson says. "He won't ever know her, except for three words."

Prosecutor Ben David had argued the murder was brutal, needless, that Cummings should be executed. The jury, after about a day of deliberating agrees with David.

"We're talking about a young man who is now being put to death for this. That's a very grave responsibility for anyone to undertake," says David. "How we get through all this is to remember Jane. We've been hearing her voice in this courtroom the last several weeks. This was her day in court, not just his."

Judge Jerry Cash Martin asked Cummings if he had anything to say to his family, or to Head's family.

The answer, from Cummings' lawyer, is no. With that, Cummings is handcuffed and led away.

Reported by Jim Hanchett

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