Uncle Of Local Capital Murder Defendant Charged After Witness Threatened

John Richards (Jail photo)
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WACO (October 25, 2012)--The uncle of a man on trial for capital murder in Waco was arrested Thursday after a judge signed a warrant charging him with retaliation against a trial witness.

John Richards, uncle of Ricky Donnell Cummings, was awaiting booking in the McLennan County Jail after U.S. Marshals and McLennan County Sheriff's deputies arrested him just after noon on Thursday.

Cummings, 23, is on trial for capital murder in the March 2011 deaths of Keenan Hubert, 20, and Tyus Sneed, 17, both of whom died in a hail of bullets as they sat inside a car parked at Lakewood Villas apartment complex.

Marion Bible, then 22, and Deontrae Majors, then 20, were wounded in the shooting.

Richards’ arrest comes after a man threatened a witness in Cummings' capital murder trial Wednesday night, authorities said.

On Thursday morning when the witness prepared to leave her house to go to the courthouse, she found her car's tires slashed, which is one of the reasons the start of the trial was delayed.

Officers began searching for Richards after the arrest warrant was issued and found him in the parking lot of the H-E-B store in Bellmead.

The start of testimony in Cummings’ trial was delayed Thursday not only because the witness’s car was vandalized, but also because a medical examiner who was also scheduled to testify Thursday was stuck in traffic on Interstate 35.

A third witness was delayed because she was having difficulty finding a babysitter for a child with cerebral palsy.

When the trial finally resumed late Thursday morning, jurors heard testimony from a woman whose apartment Cummings and a second man entered after the deadly shooting.

She said Cummings used her bathroom and then went to her kitchen where he washed his hands in the kitchen sink with dishwasher soap.

Her granddaughter, who lives with her, echoed her testimony and said she saw Cummings and second man she identified as Albert Love in the apartment and then outside. She testified that Cummings asked to use her phone.

Albert Leslie Love, Jr., Tyrece Edward Richards, Darvis Tyrell Cumings, and Kennedy Wayne Hardway, who's also known as Kevin Wayne Hardaway, were also indicted in the shooting, but prosecutors later dismissed the capital murder charge against Richards.

Ricky and Darvis Cummings and Tyrece Richards are brothers. Kennedy Hardway is their cousin, authorities said, and the four are closely associated with Albert Love.

Prosecutors also questioned a Waco High School student who was playing basketball at Hood Street Park in 2010, on the day Cumming’s friend Emuel Bowers III, 21, was shot as he sat in his car at the intersection of Rose and McKeen Streets.

Prosecutors say Hubert and Sneed were killed because Cummings suspected Hubert was involved in Bowers’ murder.

The high school student testified Thursday that he heard a gunshot and saw someone run away.

He said Cummings later approached him twice, made him get in his car, and asked him what he knew about the Bowers shooting.

He also testified Thursday that he saw Cummings at the scene of the double murders in 2011 and offered the same description of what Cummings was wearing as two previous witnesses—a white T-shirt and shorts.

Thursday afternoon medical examiner Dr. Jill Urban, who was delayed by traffic on the Interstate, testified about the autopsies she performed on the two victims at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science.

She showed graphic photographs of the gunshot wounds that killed the two victims and then prosecutors brought in a life-size mannequin and used dowels to connect entrance and exit wounds in order to show the trajectory of the shots.

(John Carroll contributed to this story)