Ex-Girlfriend, Brother Of Capital Murder Defendant Face Retaliation Charges

WACO (October 24, 2012)-The ex-girlfriend and a brother of a man being tried for capital murder in a Waco courtroom have been charged with retaliation after police say they threatened witnesses in the trial.

Constance Marie Jones, 24, was being held in the McLennan County Jail on Wednesday on bonds totaling $5,000 after her arrest on Tuesday, and was remanded to jail by a judge without bond on an earlier arrest for retaliation.

The latest incident, according to an arrest affidavit, happened at Richland Mall.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said officers still are searching for Tyrece Edward Richards, who turns 25 Wednesday and is also wanted on a retaliation charge.

Richards is the brother of Ricky Donnell Cummings, 23, who 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.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Jones on a warrant as she stepped from the 19th District Courtroom on Tuesday where she had been attending the trial after Judge Ralph Strother ordered her remanded to jail.

Waco police later served the second warrant on Jones while she was in custody.

Richards, who originally was charged in the murders, later was released and the capital murder charges dismissed.

But Swanton said he now is wanted on a warrant in connection with a May 27 incident at a north Waco apartment complex during which police say he pulled a gun on a potential witness and threatened him.

Cummings' trial has been marked with controversy from the beginning with outbursts from both the victims' and the defendant's families.

At one point on Monday Judge Ralph Strother ordered the courtroom cleared until order could be restored and confrontations broke out in the courthouse hallways and outside in the parking lot.

On Wednesday, a Waco police crime scene technician testified about processing the scene of the deadly shooting.

Erin Newton identified photographs she took of the scene where Sneed and Hubert died.

She testified she was at the primary crime scene for about 10 minutes before officers called her to 1300 Spring Street where they had detained a suspect who was driving a blue Mercury Marquis in which they found a .45 caliber handgun.

Newton testified she did a gunshot residue test on the driver's hands, but was not able to find any evidence that he had fired a gun.

She did, however, say she found a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car and that it could have been used to erase any evidence of gunshot residue.

Newton testified she returned to the murder scene where she shot photographs of an apartment and depicted in those photos was a .45 caliber bullet casing.

On Tuesday testimony from family members of the victims of the deadly shooting and from the two survivors of the shooting, had emotions in the courtroom at a fever pitch.

Sneed's father, Robert Sneed, testified Tuesday he walked right past a blue Mercury Marquis as he went home on the evening of the shooting and didn't even notice his son was inside the car.

Robert Sneed testified as he got close to his apartment he saw Ricky Cummings wearing a hood.

Because he had known Cummings since birth, he greeted him and shook his hand.

When the prosecutor asked Robert Sneed if his son cam home that afternoon, he said no, and explained as he wiped away tears that he heard gunshots coming from the parking lot "like it was a war zone."

Robert Sneed said he ran back to the car he had walked past a few minutes earlier and saw his son dead in the back seat.

"I never want to see that again," Robert Sneed said, and the prosecutor refrained from showing him pictures of the scene to identify.

Prosecutors did show pictures later as Waco Police Sgt. Keith Vaughn testified about the crime scene and the graphic images, which were projected on a screen, caused some of the victims' family members to sob.

At one point, the projection system was turned off and the judge warned spectators they either needed to quiet down or leave the courtroom, which several did.

When testimony resumed prosecutors resumed questioning, displaying close-up photos of the victims including one that showed Tyus Sneed with part of his face shot off.

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

Bible, who was in the front passenger seat, testified he saw Cummings pass behind the car before the gunfire erupted a short time later.

He said he ducked out of the car's door and ran low to the ground to his apartment.

He was struck once in the shoulder.

Majors was sitting in the driver's seat of the Mercury Marquis as the gunfire erupted.

As Majors took the stand he stared across the courtroom toward the defense table and Cummings.

Majors answered the prosecutor's questions, but for minutes did not move his eyes away from Cummings.

So intense was the stare that at one point the prosecutor asked that it be reflected in the court's record that Majors continued to stare at Cummings during his testimony.

Majors testified that bullets began crashing into the car from behind and after he was hit he laid down in the front seat and pulled himself from the car on the passenger side after the other front seat passenger got out.

Majors testified he was shot at least three times and one of the bullets shattered his ankle as he got out of the car.

He testified he hopped on one leg into apartment 81 to escape the gunfire.

Majors left the witness stand and walked to the jury box where he showed jurors the wounds in his foot, arm and shoulder.

First to testify Tuesday morning was Waco police Officer Kenneth Dale Reeves, a K-9 handler who was the second on the scene that day with his police dog.

Reeves testified he and the dog followed a trail of blood to apartment 81 where they found two men hiding in a bathroom bleeding badly from multiple wounds.

Reeves testified he called ambulance and helped the men apply towels to their wounds to keep them from bleeding out.

Reeves then testified he Then he went back outside and set up a perimeter around car where he saw numerous bullet casings on ground.

He also said a large crowd of as many as 200 people had gathered at the scene, and many of them were screaming and crying and a few fights had broken out in the crowd.

Next to testify was Keenan Hubert's grandmother, Janice Matthews, who along with her husband own and operate Dorsey Keats Funeral Home and the Doris Miller cemetery.

Matthews told a story about Hubert leaving her house on the morning of the shooting and telling her, "Grandma, when your number is up, you gotta go".

She testified that Hubert's father called her on the evening of the shooting and told her grandson had died.

Prosecutors showed her a photograph of Hubert lying in the back seat of the car where he was shot and she identified him as she softly wiped a tear from her face.

She also testified she did not know Cummings.

Each of the victims was hit eight times, prosecutors said.

Richards, Cummings, Albert Leslie Love, Jr., Darvis Tyrell Cumings, and Kennedy Wayne Hardway, who's also known as Kevin Wayne Hardaway, all were indicted in the shooting.


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