PONTIAC, Mich. (June 4, 2004) — A 31-year-old man charged with a double homicide at a tire shop in Pontiac will stand trial July 20, prosecutors said.
Bobby Smith was arrested earlier this year in Mississippi, following an investigation that spanned more than a year and took police from Michigan to the southern state. Ken Frazee, assistant prosecuting attorney with the Oakland County prosecutor's office, said Mr. Smith had lived in Michigan during the murders in January 2003, and he initially was arrested on unrelated drug charges.
Last year, Richard Cummings, 57, and Steven Putman, 33, were found shot to death in the back of City Tire Co. the morning of Jan. 7. Mr. Cummings owned the Uniroyal tire shop, and Mr. Putman was an employee. According to Mr. Cummings' obituary at the time, he had worked at City Tire for 40 years, including the previous 12 as owner.
Mr. Smith is in jail on two charges of felony murder, two counts of armed robbery and using a firearm during the commission of a felony, Mr. Frazee said. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence without parole.
The case was bound over to Judge Nanci Grant in Circuit Court following a preliminary hearing at which Mr. Smith's wife testified that her husband made admissions to her that he shot both victims, Mr. Frazee said.
“That was a very helpful piece of evidence,” Mr. Frazee told Tire Business. No other arrests have been made.
For a year after the slayings, the investigation was “intensive” yet hadn't led to a definite suspect. But the Oakland County Sheriff's Department and Pontiac police got a break after the one-year anniversary, when they received a host of fresh tips following several news stories about the crimes' impact on the families, especially Mr. Cummings' widow, Cindy Cummings.
“That triggered some people coming forward offering information about Mr. Smith,” Mr. Frazee said at the time of the arrest.
Local media reported that one of those tipsters was Mr. Smith's wife after she heard about the families' pain.