NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The man suspected of killing his parents and five other people in two rural Tennessee homes stole the car of one of the victims and was wearing a blood-stained t-shirt when he was seen, telling acquaintances the stain was just chocolate, according to authorities and court documents.
Law enforcement agents arrested 25-year-old Michael Cummins on Saturday about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from one of the two crime scenes at separate homes in rural Sumner County. He was shot and wounded while being taken into custody after being spotted in a creek bed.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch called the two crime scenes "horrific" and "gruesome." He didn't elaborate on the manner in which the victims died but said the attacks are believed to have taken place over more than one day.
Rausch's agency, also known as the TBI, identified the dead as the man's parents, 51-year-old David Carl Cummins and 44-year-old Clara Jane Cummins; 45-year-old uncle Charles Edward Hosale; 43-year-old Rachel Dawn McGlothlin-Pee, whose relationship to Cummins wasn't clear; Rachel's 12-year-old daughter, Sapphire McGlothlin-Pee; and Rachel's mother, 64-year-old Marsha Elizabeth Nuckols. Another victim, 69-year-old Shirley B. Fehrle, was found in a separate home and has no known relationship to Cummins.
An eighth victim, another relative, remained hospitalized in critical condition.
Cummins has a lengthy criminal record and had multiple court-ordered requests in the past to undergo mental health checks.
A court filing Monday said Cummins was in violation of his probation, which stemmed from a conviction for aggravated arson and aggravated assault in which in September 2017, he set his neighbor's home on fire while she was inside and shoved her and pulled her hair while he was holding a gun, court documents show.
At the time of his 2017 arrest, he said that "if I get out of jail, I'll go down there and do it again," and later, when authorities asked about that statement, said that "when I get out, I'll finish the job," according to the documents. The neighbor was not one of the seven people named as deceased.
Cummins in part violated his probation because he didn't comply with a required mental health evaluation, one document shows. In the arson and assault case, a judge had reduced his 10-year prison sentence to 10 years of probation in January — after his conviction in July — on the condition that he receive the mental health evaluation and not contact his neighbor.
Cummins was released from jail in mid-January, said Ray Whitley, the local district attorney general.
"This is one of the most horrific cases I've ever had to encounter and deal with," said Whitley, the district attorney general in Sumner County since 1980.
*Editor's Note: A criminal charge is an accusation, by law, a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven in a court of law.
**Information from TBI News Room
**The six individuals found deceased at a home at 1177 Charles Brown Road have been identified as:
David Carl Cummins (DOB: 10/31/1967), the father of Michael Cummins
Clara Jane Cummins (DOB: 12/06/1974), the mother of Michael Cummins
Charles Edward Hosale (DOB: 09/22/1973), the uncle of Michael Cummins
Rachel Dawn McGlothlin-Pee (DOB: 11/11/1975)Efforts to clarify her relationship to Cummins remained ongoing at the time of this release.
Sapphire McGlothlin-Pee (DOB: 05/19/2006), Rachel’s daughter
Marsha Elizabeth Nuckols (DOB: 04/19/1955), Rachel’s mother
The victim found deceased in her home at 1555 Luby Brown Road has been identified as Shirley B. Fehrle (DOB: 12/22/1949). She has no known relationship to Michael Cummins.
At the request of 18￼ District Attorney General Ray Whitley, TBI Special Agents continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the homicides of seven individuals in Sumner County, along with the officer-involved shooting of the suspect in the set of crimes.