Originally created 04/02/97

Homicide suspects turns himself in



The day after he failed to appear in court, a suspect in two Augusta homicides turned himself into police after seeing an article about himself in The Augusta Chronicle.

Reginald Cummings, 24, of the 800 block of Third Street, is back behind bars, and his attorney says Mr. Cummings was betrayed by police.

"He solved a murder for them and they double-crossed him," said attorney Richard Ingram.

Investigators asked Mr. Cummings to help them solve the Dec. 5 killing of Jermaine Burris, 24, after Mr. Cummings had been arrested for the Dec. 29 killing of Alfonzo R. Williams, 21, Mr. Ingram said. That's why Mr. Cummings was granted a $50,000 bond and was released from jail, Mr. Ingram said.

District Attorney Danny Craig has said investigators believed Mr. Cummings could help solve Mr. Burris' homicide, and asked Mr. Craig to consent to Mr. Cummings' bond request. Later they became convinced that Mr. Cummings was involved in both shooting deaths, Mr. Craig said.

Investigators contend that Mr. Cummings and two other men killed Mr. Burris in a turf battle over drug dealing, and later that month Mr. Cummings and three others killed Mr. Williams because he knew about the Dec. 5 slaying.

Mr. Ingram said Mr. Cummings is innocent of both homicides. "They (investigators and prosecutors) turned him from a witness into a defendant," Mr. Ingram said.

Mr. Cummings, Johnny Bariel Brown Jr., 24, Ernest Vaughns Jr., 18, and Rufus Gantt, 18, were scheduled for trial Monday in Richmond County Superior Court in connection with Mr. Williams' killing. The trial was continued, however.

Mr. Cummings, Mr. Brown and Mr. Vaughns are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in connection with Mr. Burris' death. Mr. Cummings' co-defendants have been held in jail since their arrests.