PONTIAC, Mich. (July 27, 2004) — A 31-year-old man was convicted this week of a double murder at City Tire Co. in Pontiac, closing a case that spanned 19 months.
Bobby Smith of Pontiac was convicted of two counts of felony murder, two counts of armed robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. City Tire owner Richard Cummings, 57, and employee Stephen Putman, 33, were found shot to death in the back of the tire shop the morning of Jan. 7, 2003.
Assistant Prosecutor Ken Frazee said the convictions carry a mandatory life sentence without parole, which Mr. Smith will receive at sentencing Aug. 11.
“We're thrilled with that,” Mr. Frazee said of the verdict. “It was the right result.”
Mr. Frazee said law enforcement and the community were relieved by the verdict since many feared Mr. Smith would likely commit other crimes. Many especially had concern for the witnesses who testified against him, said Mr. Frazee, who described Mr. Smith as “extremely dangerous.”
“I will sleep better at night knowing that he's not out there and he can't do this to anybody else,” said Mr. Cummings' widow, Cindy Cummings, according to local media reports.
Ms. Cummings was a central figure in the case, which had progressed slowly for about a year after the slayings. But a local news story featuring her around the one-year anniversary brought a host of fresh tips into law enforcement that led to Mr. Smith. One witness was Mr. Smith's wife, who testified during the preliminary trial that her husband admitted that he shot both victims.
Law enforcement arrested Mr. Smith in Mississippi on unrelated drug charges, and he was charged with the murders in March.
Mr. Frazee said he doesn't expect any other arrests in connection with this case.
“We believe he was acting alone,” he said.