When he was first arrested in January 2018, Michael Cummings faced a second-degree murder charge in the death of his 44-year-old ex-wife Faith Cummings at their home on Point Pleasant in Palm Coast a few days earlier. Five months later a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree, pre-meditated murder charge, which carries a life term if he is convicted.
Today, Cummings and his attorney, Josh Mosley, told Circuit Judge Terence Perkins that Cummings is not interested in a plea deal, though he was offered one. He is ready to proceed to trial. The week-long trial was scheduled for the week of Nov. 18.
Faith and Michael Cummings had divorced in 2013 but were still living together. The relationship had been rekindled after Faith had won an insurance settlement. She was found dead at the home they shared at 6 Point Pleasant Drive, on Jan. 11, 2018. She had been apparently bludgeoned and asphyxiated, according to Cummings’s arrest report based on a medical examiner’s autopsy.
“There’d been an obvious attempt to clean up the crime scene and reposition the body,” Sheriff Rick Staly said about the evidence deputies and detectives uncovered at the house when he announced Cummings’s arrest. Cummings maintained his innocence.
The trial will be prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney mark Johnson, who did not tell the judge the specifics of the offer–only that the sate was willing to deal, and take the deal to Faith Cummings’s family.
“There had been the beginnings of talks for a resolution,” Mosley told Perkins today. “But it’s my understanding Mr. Cummings is resuming to trial.”
Perkins tried in different ways to elicit more clarity about the offer, which Mosley described as “more of a conversation” than an offer with set numbers.
“We wanted to make sure he was on board with anything,” Johnson said.
“You get to offer whatever you get to offer, that’s the state’s business,” the judge told Johnson, turning to Mosley and saying the same thing about a counter-offer. “I want him to know what he’s turning down so he can compare that to ‘what happens if I get convicted,’ so he can make an informed decision. Are we there?”
“What Mr. Johnson had informally offered was taken to Mr Cumins we have had that discussion, and he is fully aware that if convicted as charged you will have no discretion,” Mosley told the judge. Cummings himself spoke to his attorney but did not say anything audible in a courtroom full of attorneys and defendants on other cases: it was the weekly cattle call for pre-trials and docket soundings.
“As we stand here today, you are wanting to go to trial, that’s the option you want,” the judge asked Cummings, who nodded agreement.
It will be the second murder trial in Flagler County Circuit Court in two months. Joseph Bova II was convicted of murder in the shooting death of Zuheili Roman Rosado at the end of October.