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High drama unfolds in Jordan Cummins’...

High drama unfolds in Jordan Cummins’ double murder trial

By: Russ Latino - June 13, 2024

Judge Faye Peterson (Photo Credit: AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Judge Faye Peterson stopped the trial yesterday to arrest Jordan Cummins’ mother, Angie Kellum, for alleged witness tampering. Cummins is on trial for two counts of first degree murder stemming from last year’s St. Patrick Day Parade shooting in Jackson.

On Tuesday, the trial of accused killer Jordan Cummins commenced at the Hinds County Courthouse. Prosecutors allege Cummins, 29, shot and killed Joshua Spann, 27, and Auden Jubilee Simpkins, 23, at the Jackson St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 25, 2023.

The state charged Cummins with two counts of first degree murder. Prosecutors argued during opening statements that Cummins opened fire on a group of individuals after they intervened in an altercation between Cummins and his girlfriend, Jenny Lukens.

It is alleged that Cummins was striking Lukens in his parked vehicle, across from the the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, when a truck driven by Kam Owens and carrying a group of friends witnessed the abuse and stopped. Spann and Simpkins were among the passengers.

Several passengers, including Spann, approached Cummins’ car. Jubilee Simpkins did not. In the moments that followed, Cummins opened fire, killing both Spann and Simpkins, who had remained in the back of Owens’ truck.

Cummins’ defense attorney, Bill Kellum, told the jury they intended to prove Cummins acted in self-defense. Kellum argued his client only pulled his gun after Owens opened the door to Cummins’ car and began hitting him, and that others in Owens’ party, including Spann, pulled weapons prior to Cummins shooting.

Witnesses on Tuesday included the officer who first responded to the scene after the shooting and Mississippi Bureau of Investigations forensic investigator, Ty Parker, who laid out the scene and testified to the evidence of bullet casings and projectiles discovered. Photographs of the bodies of both Spann and Simpkins were shown to the jury, drawing a response from family members in the audience.

Hinds County prosecutors also called three friends of Jenny Lukens, all of whom had been at the parade with Cummins and Lukens on the day of the incident. Jordan Jagger testified that she, her sister Brook McFarland, Cummins and Lukens had gone to a liquor store to purchase alcohol prior to the parade.

She expressed a belief that Cummins consumed a fifth of Crown Royal during the parade. McFarland testified that in addition to drinking, Cummins smoked marijuana on the day of the parade.

According to Jagger, once at a friend’s tent, Cummins touched her in a way that agitated Lukens. A fight ensued between Cummins and Lukens. According to the testimony, Cummins pushed Lukens back against a tent pole with his hand clutched around her jaw. All three witnesses testified that McFarland intervened. In response, Cummins asked Lukens to give him his gun and said he would “flatline this b–ch.”

The witnesses indicated that Cummins was asked to leave the tent. He and Lukens complied.

Jagger and McFarland further testified that this incident occurred approximately 30 minutes prior to the eventual shooting.

The fight which occurred at the parade tent prior to the shooting incident is pivotal to prosecutors for several reasons. One, it could help corroborate the idea that Cummins was being abusive to Jenny at the time of the shooting and the intervention was warranted. Two, it could establish that Cummins shooting Spann and Simpkins was not reactionary, but that he had been primed for this level of violence, even prior to the intervention. Finally, it helps to establish a timeline of events.

During testimony on Wednesday, video of the actual incident was shown to the jury. Steven Porter, who was one of the men who intervened along with Owens and Spann, described what was happening in the video. He told the jury that his group witnessed Cummins punching Lukens from inside of their vehicle and stopped to help.

Porter walked the jury through the group approaching Cummins’ car, Kam Owens opening Cummins’ car door, Cummins pulling his weapon, the group scattering at the sight of the weapon, and the subsequent shooting. He testified that Spann, and one other individual in their party, had pulled guns, but only after Cummins, and that only Cummins fired.

Porter described witnessing the deaths of Spann and Simpkins, and also picking up Spann’s gun after he had been shot. He said that after the shooting, Cummins and Lukens got in their car and sped off.

Following Porter’s testimony and outside the hearing of the jury, Judge Peterson addressed the courtroom about potentially serious evidentiary violations during the trial. Peterson referred to jailhouse phone call recordings between prospective witness Lindsey Emmerson and Lukens, in which Emmerson relayed a “play-by-play” of testimony presented at trial.

Peterson also referenced a three-way phone call between Cummins, Lukens, and Cummins’ mom, Angie Kellum, in which trial testimony was discussed. Cummins and Lukens are under a “no contact” order in the case. Additionally, witnesses are generally disallowed from any discussion of testimony to prevent collusion at trial.

Peterson called Kellum up in the courtroom and had her placed into custody. She was led handcuffed out of the courtroom by bailiffs.

A “show cause” order against Kellum was entered by Peterson, which described potential “witness tampering, obstruction of justice, subornation of perjury,” as well as violations of rules of evidence and the no contact order between Cummins and Lukens.

Lukens was charged in June of last year with hindering the prosecution. Both she and Cummins had their bond revoked earlier this year for violating the Court’s no contact order.

To compound the problem with alleged witness tampering, late Wednesday afternoon, Judge Peterson removed the media from the courtroom after video footage aired by a local television station showed some of the case’s jurors on tape. Jurors are typically not shown in media coverage of trials to prevent jury tampering.

About the Author(s)
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Russ Latino

Russ is a proud Mississippian and the founder of Magnolia Tribune Institute. His research and writing have been published across the country in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, USA Today, The Hill, and The Washington Examiner, among other prominent publications. Russ has served as a national spokesman with outlets like Politico and Bloomberg. He has frequently been called on by both the media and decisionmakers to provide public policy analysis and testimony. In founding Magnolia Tribune Institute, he seeks to build on more than a decade of organizational leadership and communications experience to ensure Mississippians have access to news they can trust and opinion that makes them think deeply. Prior to beginning his non-profit career, Russ practiced business and constitutional law for a decade. Email Russ:
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