The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

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Normal The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by nice niece on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:36 am

Terribly sad story. I knew Edward and Laura. This family has been troubled for at least 15 years. CPS was involved with this family when Edward was in 5th and 6th grades. Laura was a shy and quiet girl who always had a smile on her face. She was kind to others and wanted to be included. Her life was too brief and too pain filled. Child Protection and Adult Protection of Erie County NY dropped the ball on this family a long time ago and never picked it back up. They deserve to be sued and laws need to be changed to allow adult protection workers more leeway in entering homes. Even though these workers could have enlisted the aid of local police if they had only believed Richard's calls and the NC judge's calls and not believed the accused abuser. I would like to know more about the role of the cousin, the one that acted as payee for all the Social Security disability money that this family collected. I have empathy and compassion for all players except Eva, her cousin, and the social service agencies. I even have compassion for Luke. His actions are reprehensible and he should pay the price but he was "trained" for this type of behavior by his mother (it is hard to use that word in conjunction with Eva).

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Normal Re: The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:15 pm

welcome2 to Victims Heartland nice niece. Thanks for posting here on VH. Are you attending any of the trial?
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Normal The Trial of Luke Wright

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:17 pm

Testimony Begins in Wright Trial
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A former county medical examiner took the stand in the Luke Wright trial Tuesday. Doctor James Woytash was the first witness, who discussed the autopsy results of Laura Cummings. Wright is accused of molesting and torturing his half sister before her death last year.

Woytash says when he examined Laura Cummings during the autopsy last year, he saw burns, bruises and cuts from head to toe. He says some of the burns could have killed Cummings, and burns near her eyes would have left her partially blind.
Read more here http://www.wben.com/Testimony-Begins-in-Wright-Trial/9606422
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Normal Re: The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:26 am

Normal Re: The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:20 pm

BUFFALO, NY (WBFO) - A North Collins man was found guilty Wednesday afternoon on all ten counts against him in the sexual abuse of his half-sister, 23-year old Laura Cummings.

A jury convicted 32-year-old Luke Wright of rape, sodomy, and torture of his half-sister before she was suffocated by her mother Eva Cummings last year.

Prosecutors Kristin St. Mary and Thomas Finnerty talked with reporters following the verdict. They described just how disturbing the material presented during the was for jurors.
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wbfo/news.newsmain/article/0/1/1792036/WBFO.News/Luke.Wright.found.guilty.on.all.counts
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Normal Re: The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:30 pm

What a horrific life Laura led. How Dare this mother and brother abuse her in any way, shape or form!

nice niece, I know we PM'd but I wanted to give you another welcome!!

Thank you for letting us know about this poor girl.


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Normal Relatives of Cummings fault cousin

Post by Nama on Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:04 pm

Luke J. Wright is expected to join his mother, Eva Cummings, in the state prison system when he is sentenced Tuesday for heinous crimes committed against Laura Cummings, his mentally disabled half-sister.

Prosecutors said they successfully prosecuted the people responsible for the woman's torture and death.

But during Wright's sensational trial, and in interviews with a dozen people regarding the Cummings household, another troubling figure emerged — Joyce Landahl.

Landahl, who is Eva Cummings' cousin, has not been charged with any crimes, and in an exclusive interview with The Buffalo News following the Wright verdict, she repeatedly denied any knowledge of the abuse that prosecutors and law enforcement said Laura Cummings endured for several years.

"I assisted the family for 19 years of my life," said Landahl, a former Erie County foster parent. "I loved Laura, trust me."

The sickening crimes and shocking revelations about life in the North Collins apartment where Laura Cummings was killed stunned the community, raising questions about how the young woman's abuse could have gone on for so long with no one stepping in to help.

Landahl, in particular, had regular access to the Cummings home on Sherman Avenue, visiting by some accounts as much as three or four times per day and collecting Supplemental Security Income checks on behalf of the family.

Landahl also raised Eva Cummings' youngest child — Laura's sister, Krystal, 17 — in her North Collins home since Krystal was about 15 months old.

And Laura Cummings even lived with Landahl and Krystal for long stretches at a time.

How could Landahl not have known that Laura was being badly mistreated? And why didn't she do anything about it?

Richard Cummings and Edward Overmoyer, Laura Cummings' brothers, maintain that Landahl knew everything that was happening in the apartment and for years contributed to the overwhelming dysfunction inside the ramshackle home.

They also said they want Landahl held accountable.

"The person that should be in jail is Joyce, and I will never back down from that," Overmoyer said in an interview.

During a three-hour interview with The News, Landahl, 62, denied any wrongdoing.

"I don't care what they accuse me of because I know what I've done and not done," Landahl said, sitting at the kitchen table in her North Collins home. "I'm sorry the kids have a hard feeling about me."

She said she never took money from Overmoyer or Richard Cummings.

"Every time I got money in my pocket, she'd be asking for it," Richard Cummings said of Landahl. "She was saying our bills were too high, and she was helping pay the bills."

Overmoyer, who worked two jobs, 10 to 12 hours per day, said he gave Landahl all of his money over several years — enough, he estimated, to buy a small house in North Collins.

Landahl acknowledged she agreed to pay the bills, because she was the payee of federal Supplemental Security Income on behalf of Laura and Eva Cummings and Wright.

"Social Security asked me to come in there. Eva said she wanted the checks put in my name because she was having a hard time cashing them at the bank," said Landahl, who said the checks added up to about $1,800 per month for the three individuals.

Landahl said she cashed the checks and gave the money to Eva Cummings.

"If she had bills, I was to make sure they were paid, but she had no bills," Landahl said.

What Eva Cummings did with the money "was not my business," she added.

Several times in the interview, Landahl denied ever witnessing Eva Cummings hit or otherwise physically abuse the slain woman.

If Richard Cummings knew something otherwise, he had an opportunity to take his sister away from the home during his visits from the North Carolina air base where he was stationed, she said.

Richard Cummings maintained that his mother and Landahl barred him from the Sherman Avenue home, but Landahl said she recalled Richard Cummings showing up at her house when Laura was there and asking to speak with his sister privately.

Landahl said she didn't stand in the way. "If he thought something was wrong, why didn't he take her? I had no authority," she said.

In hindsight, Landahl said she wishes Laura had just stayed with her and Krystal, the daughter Eva Cummings turned over to Landahl.

Krystal, an honors student, is expected to graduate in June from North Collins High School and attend college in the fall. She declined to be interviewed for this story.

"If nothing else comes out of this, them boys ought to be happy that Krystal is safe," Landahl said.

Richard Cummings acknowledged that his sister seems to have done well under Landahl's parenting, but he said the two siblings have hardly spoken since Laura's death.

And both Richard Cummings and Edward Overmoyer said they believe Krystal has avoided them because she fears Landahl.

Laura Cummings sometimes lived in Landahl's home for months at a time, but went back to the Sherman Avenue apartment when her mother wanted her help with household chores, Landahl said, adding, "Laura was a simple little girl, but if she could help anyone do anything, she'd do it."

Laura truly loved her mother, but "she should've stayed here," Landahl said.

Defense attorneys for Wright and Eva Cummings tried to call attention to Landahl's role in the Cummings household.

But following the Wright trial, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita declined to comment on whether Landahl was under investigation.

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Normal Joyce Landahl

Post by Nama on Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:09 pm

Tuesday morning, Luke Wright of North Collins is facing a life sentence for the rape and torture of his mentally-challenged sister, Laura Cummings.

Eva Cummings is already serving a life sentence after admitting to killing her daughter.

There was a woman whose name came up a number of times at Luke Wright's trial, a shadowy figure when it came to how Laura and the Cummings family lived.

Her name is Joyce Landahl.

Landahl is Eva Cummings cousin and also lives in North Collins.

During Wright's trial, another of Laura's brothers, Richard Cummings testified that Landahl controlled everything having to do with the family.

Scott Brown: "You guys had no phone is that right?"

Richard Cummings: "Correct."

Scott Brown: "No car?"

Richard Cummings: "Correct, she was the whole transportation where we went and how we spent our day."

Landahl's control of everything included the family's finances.

Because of mental handicaps, Laura, Eva Cummings, and Luke Wright received SSI Disability checks of about $600 a month each.

Joyce Landahl was the designated payee for all of those checks.

2 On Your Side has obtained this document where Landahl requested to be the designated payee for Luke Wright.

All told, by her own admission, Landahl controlled about $2,000 that came to the family in the three SSI checks, which included Laura's.

In addition to that money, another of Laura's brothers, Edward Overmeyer, testified during the trial that he worked 60 to 70 hours a week at a diner in town.

Scott Brown: "The money you made at the diner, where did that go?"

Edward Overmeyer: "It went with Joyce. I would give it to her all the time. Every paycheck, everything I gave to her."

Scott Brown: "And why did you do that?"

Edward Overmeyer: "I thought I was helping out my mother, that's what I got told by Joyce."

Richard would also earn money by doing odd jobs around town.

Richard Cummings: "She would track us down and we would have to give her every penny to her."

And that's something John Stevens, a prominent citizen in town, who called the County twice to report allegations that Laura was being abused, vouches for having seen it happen to Richard."

John Stevens: "All of the money went to Joyce Landahl. All of the money that the boys earned, like our neighbor Terry, he worked for her, she'd (Landahl) wait down at the end of the road and as soon as he got paid, he'd go down there and have to turn over the money."

Richard testified during Wright's trial that when he was about 18 he went to his mother and Landahl and told them he wanted to keep some of the money he was earning.

Their response, he testified was that they threw him out of the house.

Richard Cummings: "That night I had taken all of my clothes down the street to my friend's house. Then I went back the next day to get the rest of my stuff and found they had thrown it in the dumpster behind the home."

The brothers and those who knew the family well say they lived in abject poverty.

During Luke Wright's trial, the brothers testified that there were no beds in the home.

Scott Brown: "Tell me about the inside of the house, what it looked like, where you would sleep things like that?"

Richard Cummings: "It was horrid. Before I had moved out of the house, I was sleeping on the couch. We'd have to pick up furniture from the side of the road just to have furniture inside the house.

"My mother would have to go to the church up the street and every Tuesday or Wednesday to pick up the food at the food pantry and then bring it back."

Edward Overmeyer: "We got used clothes all the time, next door neighbors or down at the food pantry and bring them home. Churches would give us clothes."

Scott Brown: "Did you have a bed that you slept in?"

Edward Overmeyer: "No, I slept on a couch."

Joseph Terranova was Eva Cummings' attorney- he went into the house on Sherman Avenue shortly after Laura's death.

Scott Brown: "Can you just describe what the inside of that apartment looked like?"

Joseph Terranova, Eva Cummings' attorney: "Piles of stuff, piles of junk. No one had a bed, Eva slept on a couch in the living room. No beds, no beds at all. I didn't even see a mattress in there."

We learned that during Luke Wright's trial, Laura was forced to sleep on the floor without a mattress, or she was tied to a chair at night.

Last year, as part of our investigation into Laura's murder, and the county's failure to protect Laura despite numerous calls that she was being abused, we were able to do a brief interview with Joyce Landahl.

This is the first time the interview has aired.

Landahl agreed to speak with us but did not want to appear on camera.

Despite what Richard and Edward told us about the crushing poverty the family lived in, Landahl denied taking any of the government money for her own use.

Joyce Landahl: "They weren't needy, when you had two thousand dollars a month coming in and buy eight or nine cartons of cigarettes and you buy this and that it doesn't take long for a little bit of money to go."

Scott Brown: "In terms of checks that they would receive, Disability or SSI, would you handle money for them?"

Joyce Landahl: "No I would not, Eva (Cummings) would handle the money. I didn't have no right doing that, I cashed the checks like I was supposed to. That's all I did and handed it back to Eva. That was their money that was not my money."

Landahl also denied Edward's claims that he would hand over his paychecks to her.

Joyce Landahl: "Absolutely not true."

Scott Brown: "Why would he say that if it weren't true?"

Joyce Landahl: "I don't know, they say all kind of things I really don't know, I can't tell you, I don't know, but I'm not going to get rich over what they made."

Richard Cummings: "That's absolutely false- she took every penny of the household, she knew where every penny went."

Landahl claims she helped to care for Laura by bringing her lunch every day to the house on Sherman.

Joyce Landahl: "We would take them over a meal every day, faithfully, faithfully. I've been there for them kids all my life since they moved here, all my life. I was there everyday, twice a day."

The District Attorney's office has said that over Laura's two years of her life, Laura suffered horrific torture and abuse.

During Luke Wright's trial, the Medical Examiner testified that during the autopsy on Laura's body, he found 30 separate injuries that she had suffered.

Scott Brown: "From what I'm told by the authorities over the last couple of months of her life, things got really bad."

Joyce Landahl: "I didn't see them bad, if they did get bad I didn't see nothing, nothing."

Scott Brown: "No bruises?"

Joyce Landahl: "I saw them one time."

That one time according to Landahl, was about a week before Laura was killed.

Joyce Landahl: "Her mother and I went to Springville, I had to go to the tractor place and she did have a black eye. And I asked her where she got it and she said she fell in the bathtub. That's what Laura told me, her mother was in the back (of the car) and her mother said that's right she slipped in the bathtub, I didn't question it."

It was revealed during Wright's trial that Laura would spend some nights at Landahl's home.

According to testimony at Wright's trial, Laura was taken out special education classes when she was 16.

Laura was just 23 when she was killed.

Joyce Landahl was her designated SSI payee until the day she died.

Scott Brown: "In your opinion, why was it that Laura wasn't placed in a group home by the mother or Joyce Landahl?"

Joseph Terranova, Eva Cummings' attorney: "It was suggested that Laura be placed in a group home, my understanding from speaking with Eva (the mother) was that there was tacit agreement among her and Joyce (Landahl) that 'why give up this money?" Why give up this benefit and have it go to somebody else when we can take care of her and keep the money.

"Anybody looking at that situation would say that Laura would be alive today and would positively benefit from a group home setting."

Recently, while working on this story we went back to Joyce Landahl's house in North Collins to ask her about these allegations.

We identified ourselves and someone who said he was a family friend, answered the door.

"She's not going to be doing any interviews. She doesn't want to be bothered and she has no comment. She's in no condition to be harassed by the media right now," said the family friend.

Scott Brown: "I'm not trying to harass her, I'm just trying to ask her some questions. Our story is going to air in the near future so I'm hoping to get her side of things. So if she could call me that would be great."

Joyce Landahl never called us back.

Meanwhile, 2 On Your Side has learned that the Social Security Administration has begun looking into how Joyce Landahl handled those Disability checks.

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Normal Re: The Trial of Luke Wright was found guilty of all 10 charges/ Relatives of Cummings fault cousin, Joyce Landahl, in Laura Cummings death

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:34 pm

This is a tough one to read. There mere thought of what Laura Cummings went through is just horrifying!

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