Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cummings' Drug Case Plea Might Mean Testifying against Misty; He Has Made an Offer to Plea in Three of Five Drug Charges

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cummings' Drug Case Plea Might Mean Testifying against Misty; He Has Made an Offer to Plea in Three of Five Drug Charges

Article excerpt

Byline: DANA TREEN

PALATKA - A plea in the prescription drug-trafficking case of Ronald Cummings, who gained national attention with the story of his daughter's disappearance more than a year ago, would be squarely aimed at co-defendant Misty Croslin, her attorney said following a court hearing for Cummings Monday.

Robert Fields said Cummings' offer to make a plea in three of five drug charges in exchange for dropping the other two meant he will likely testify against Croslin, who also was arrested in the undercover drug bust. Croslin, 18, was watching Haleigh Cummings when the 5-year-old disappeared.

"Ronald's obviously cutting a deal to testify against her," Fields said.

In a seven-minute court appearance Monday, Cummings' attorney and prosecutor Jason Lewis asked Circuit Judge Terry LaRue for a month to work out details.

Cummings' attorney, Terry Shoemaker, who was not available after Monday's hearing, did not say whether testifying in Croslin's case would be part of the deal. Cummings, 26, is scheduled to return to court Aug. 20.

In May, Shoemaker said he was pursuing a deal that would drop the two most serious charges so a sentence would reflect only the three less serious cases. Sentences are guided by the weight of the drugs sold.

Two of the charges are for amounts of prescription drugs that carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years. Two others mandate 15-year sentences and one requires a three-year sentence.

Three other people, including a brother of Croslin and a cousin of Cummings, were arrested in the drug operation that ended in January. The fifth person was a friend of Croslin's. They were arrested selling pills to an undercover officer during a monthlong investigation.

Detectives with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office have used the arrests in the drug cases to ask questions about the missing girl. …

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