Ronald Cummings, whose daughter has been missing for more than 18 months, pleaded guilty this morning to three drug trafficking charges and agreed to testify for the state in future cases involving the drug cases or the missing girl.
Cummings, 26, will be sentenced Sept. 24 and is expected to get 15 years in prison.
Following the hearing, Cummings’ attorney said his client is having a hard time believing accusations this week that his daughter, Haleigh, was abducted and killed by a man visiting from Tennessee.
Misty Croslin, Cummings’ former girlfriend and wife, and her brother Hank “Tommy Croslin Jr. have told authorities their cousin Joe Overstreet was responsible for Haleigh’s disappearance in February 2009.
The Croslins said Overstreet was at the mobile home with them the night she disappeared and that he put her in a bag and dumped her in the St. Johns River after a machine gun he wanted was not at Cummings’ Satsuma mobile home.
“Ronald has a hard time understanding why a person who wanted to steal a gun would steal a child instead,” attorney Terry Shoemaker said of the accusations made public this week by the Croslins’ attorneys.
Shoemaker said Cummings will testify at any upcoming trials and will continue to cooperate with the investigation of Haleigh’s case. The Croslins were arrested in the trafficking case with Cummings.
Cummings’ most valuable testimony may be in the form of a timeline concerning the days and weeks leading up to Haleigh’s disappearance, Shoemaker said. Law enforcement officials have said Cummings is not a suspect in Haleigh’s disappearance.
She has not been found.
Cummings’ plea today was in three of five prescription drug trafficking cases he was arrested for in January at the end of a monthlong investigation. In exchange for the plea, the state will drop two charges.
The Croslins and two others were arrested in the same drug sting. Misty Croslin has pleaded no contest to eight charges and Croslin Jr. has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on one charge.