The cracks are widening in the Haleigh Cummings murder investigation as family members and associates jailed on drug charges weary of their stints in custody. WESH Orlando reported Friday that Haleigh Cummings’ father Ronald Cummings has agreed to a plea deal in which he would be sentenced to 15 years on drug trafficking charges in exchange for testifying against Misty Croslin Cummings on drug charges. The plea deal also would require Cummings to testify against Misty’s brother Hank “Tommy” Croslin, Jr. on drug charges.
Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings was reported missing from her Satsuma, Fla., home in February 2009 and police recently recast the search as a homicide investigation. Misty Croslin Cummings was Ronald Cummings’ teenage girlfriend who was babysitting Haleigh the night she was reported missing. Cummings later married and then divorced Misty. In January, subsequent to the divorce, both Ronald and Misty Croslin Cummings were arrested on drug charges along with Tommy Croslin, Jr. and 2 other associates.
Ronald Cummings isn’t alone in seeking a plea deal on drug trafficking charges. Tommy Croslin has been seeking a plea agreement that would limit his time in the slammer to less than three years. Tommy’s potential jail sentence is considerably less than that of Ronald Cummings due to the quantity of narcotics involved.
Tommy Croslin’s attorney James Werter has acknowledged that his client knows what happened to Haleigh Cummings but insists that he is not the murderer.
In a recorded jailhouse conversation between Tommy Croslin and his wife Lindsey made 51 days after his arrest, Tommy Croslin suggested that he hoped to get a plea deal calling for 18 months in prison on drug charges; the tape implied that a three-year offer was at hand.
Neither Tommy Croslin nor his wife made mention of prison time for any role he may have had in the Haleigh Cummings case, raising the question whether he may have been granted immunity. His attorney contends that it was Tommy Croslin who led police to the Shell Harbour boat ramp in April, the location where it is believed Haleigh Cummings remains were deposited. Lindsey and Tommy are preparing for Tommy’s stay in prison, with Lindsey indicating that she’s been looking at the prison rules. Yet with prison clearly on their horizon, they continuously referred only to a sentence based on drug charges.
In a jailhouse tape made in May, Tommy and Lindsey Croslin referred to Misty Croslin Cummings as a liar who will get what’s coming to her, referencing Revelation 21:6-8. The May tape also suggests that Ronald Cummings may know what happened to his daughter Haleigh.
“Your dad’s over there telling Misty don’t protect Ronald,” Lindsey told Tommy.
“I think it’s what Ronald told us, that’s what happened,” the conversation continued.
“They give the kid up they know they’re gonna be f*****.”
“I think she’s covering for her old man, she’s so in love with the damn dude.”
The tape also makes reference to alleged abuse Misty Croslin has suffered both at the hands of Ronald Cummings and a prior boyfriend.
The Croslins knew their conversations were subject to recording so whether their conversation is genuine or staged is one that investigators will have to consider along with all of the other complexities and contradictions in the perplexing Haleigh Cummings murder case.
Suppositions as to police strategy in the Haleigh Cummings murder investigation are legion, with much speculation that the drug charges are intended to pressure parties with knowledge into talking. The plea deal calling for Ronald Cummings to testify against Misty Croslin Cummings on drug charges may very well be designed to get Misty to talk. Whether the police expect Misty to confess to wrongdoing or, contrariwise, to implicate Ronald, remains to be seen.
There has been no hint of any potential plea deal for Misty Croslin Cummings on the drug trafficking charges. Misty Croslin Cummings is due back in court June 8 for a pretrial hearing.