Originally created 10/11/00

Teen faces murder trial



Trial began Monday for an Augusta teen who was 14 years old when accused of taking part in a double homicide.

Quinton Cummings, now 16, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, armed robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime. His trial continues today in Richmond County Superior Court. If convicted, Mr. Cummings could receive a life sentence.

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1999, James and Lisa Stone of Edgefield, S.C., were searching the streets of Augusta for someone selling crack cocaine.

"In one way, their addiction killed them," Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter told the jury Monday. But, he told the jurors, they would learn Mr. Cummings was responsible for their slayings.

At the intersection of McElmurray Drive and Dupont Street, Mr. and Mrs. Stone made a deal for $20 worth of crack. An argument began when Mr. Stone realized what he had paid for was fake, and the sellers pulled guns, Mr. Markwalter told the jury.

Mr. Stone, 30, died at the scene from his gunshot wounds. Seriously wounded, Mrs. Stone, 27, died four days later at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Defense attorney Hugh Hadden asked the jury in his opening statement to remember three teen-agers were on the street corner that night - Mr. Cummings, then 15year-old Judson Harden and then 16-year-old Justin Williams, and that another young man, serving as a drug broker for the Stones, was inside the Stones' vehicle. That man, who was Mr. Williams' friend, was never charged, Mr. Hadden said.

Mr. Cummings and Mr. Harden were close friends, Mr. Hadden told the jury. They were out that night to make money by selling fake crack, not by robbing people, Mr. Hadden said. That was Mr. Williams' idea, he added.

Mr. Williams entered a plea negotiation and is serving a 20-year prison sentence for armed robbery. Mr. Harden, convicted in April of all charges, is serving a prison sentence of two life terms plus 30 years.

When the gunfire began from the passenger side of the Stones' vehicle, Mr. Cummings was standing at the driver's side door, Mr. Hadden said. Mr. and Mrs. Stone were shot to death, "but not by my client," the attorney said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.