25 September 2008 – Jesse James Cummings
Apparently, he gasped twice and was pronounced dead at 6:11 pm, just six minutes after the lethal liquids were intravenously released.
His story unfolds below.
In a departure from our normal, already executed fodder, we’ve gone with a different take on today’s main man.
His name is Jesse James Cummings and, at 6pm local time, he is due to be dosed up with lethal drugs for murderous deeds at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
He has already been found guilty of murdering his sister and his 11-year-old niece. However, since his conviction, Cummings has been absolved of killing his sister and his sentence has been overturned. Yet the child-murder of Melissa Moody still stands and for that he is now on the brink of the ultimate penalty: death.
Like his outlaw namesake, speculation and counter-speculation swamp this case and Jesse James Cummings himself has constantly professed his innocence, saying that he was 100 miles away spending time with his father who was suffering from cancer, while the murders were taking place.
However, books such as ‘Suffer the Little Children’ by Barbara Davis highlight a different story – citing his as a case steeped in abuse.
In it Davis paints Cummings as a paedophile and the monster behind a plot to kill his own sister and child. He was apparently a puppeteer who roped others into carrying out his poisonous plot in 1991, while he called the shots from his safe haven 100 miles away.
Whatever the conjecture, the truth so far is this: Cummings has been found guilty of murder and his appeals have all been lodged on the allegedly flaky testimonies of two key witnesses.
The plot thickens
All the damning evidence hinges on two women: Sherry Marie Mitchell and Juanita Marie Lewis – the two wives of Cummings.
Cummings was a bigamist who married Lewis while still wedded to Mitchell. And, in a bizarre twist, both women are currently doing time each for the malicious murder of his sister and of his niece respectively. But while they got lesser sentences, Cummings has copped the brunt of the blame.
According to a report from Julie Bisbee from ‘NewsOK.com’, the sheriff’s office is convinced of his guilt as is the chief investigator on the case. Says Sheriff McCool, ‘…all along we knew he had something to do with it; we just couldn’t prove it’.
The sheriff believed that on the fateful day, Cummings kept in constant contact with his wives to find out how everything was going, and to stress that ‘Melissa was to be kept for him’. When he returned after seeing his father, he abused the 11-year-old girl before teaming up with Mitchell to take her to a deserted area where she was raped again. Cummings then stabbed her and slit her throat, reports Bisbee.
This ties in from the testimonies from the two wives. However, Cummings refutes this version of events and instead he states on his own appeals site:
‘The women had admitted to killing Judy while I was out of town and falsely claimed they kept Melissa alive until my return many hours later. But the facts make it clear, however, that Jaunita (sic) and Sherry also killed Melissa and disposed of the bodies before I returned. There was no evidence connecting me to the Homicides, other then the self-serving testimony of Jaunita (sic) and Sherry Cummings and there was no evidence to corroborate the women’s claims against me. The evidence at trial showed that I had no motive to want either Judy or Melissa dead, and that I was on good terms with them both.’
Cummings or goings?
So the question is, will Oklahoma grant the 52-year-old a stay of execution or will he be extinguished later today? We’ll find out soon enough…
Also on this day…various ne’er-do-wells
25 September 1819 – Samuel Hooley
Samuel Hooley was executed alongside John Johnson in 1819. They were strung up in Chester for burglary.
25 September 1819 – James Haggin
James Haggin was put to death at Lancaster Castle in 1819. He was had up for burglary and hanged alongside a highway robber by the name of Thomas Price.
25 September 1821 – George Lee
George Lee was hanged at Newgate in 1821. His crime was one of uttering and publishing. This is tantamount to forgery as we know it today. Lee was guilty of knowingly presenting false documents.