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NY Mother Gets 57 Years to Life for Torturing, Killing Disabled Daughter

Eva Cummings and Luke Wright were arrested Feb 26 for the murder of their daugter and sister, Laura Cummings, she died of abuse and asphyxiation at 23.
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NY Mother Gets 57 Years for Killing, Torturing Disabled Daughter
Eva Cummings (WIVB)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBS/AP) Prosecutors said Eva Cummings put her mentally disabled daughter Laura through "an almost unimaginable living hell" of sexual, physical and emotional abuse" before she ultimately smothered her Jan. 21 at their dilapidated home outside Buffalo.

On Tuesday, the 51-year-old woman was sentenced to 57 years to life in prison, for torturing and suffocating her 23-year-old daughter.

Police said Laura, who had the mental capacity of a preteen, spent days tied to a metal chair with a hood over her head and was constantly beaten, raped, and severely sodomized with a broomstick, and that sometimes her face was pushed into feces.

Laura's 31-year-old half brother Luke Wright is also accused of having a hand in the horrendous abuse and is awaiting trial.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Finnerty, a longtime homicide prosecutor, said Eva Cummings blamed her daughter for the abuse saying in interviews that it was because Laura was "playing her games, acting out, being sneaky."

Cummings pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder, assault, endangering the welfare of a disabled person and unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime.

Finnerty asked the Erie County Court judge to impose the harshest possible sentence on Cummings who received 7 years for unlawful imprisonment, 25 years for assault and 25 years to life on the murder charge.

According to District Attorney Frank Sedita, Laura had been abused since she was a child, but the torture heightened over the last two years before her death.

"It's almost incomprehensible for a parent to treat their child in this fashion, it doesn't compute," an emotional Sedita said. "The last six months of her life were an almost unimaginable living hell."

Following the hearing Cummings' lawyer, Joseph Terranova, said, "She's very ashamed with what occurred," but placed some of the blame on the county social services agencies and workers who aided the family.

"There were county employees who could have rescued Laura Cummings but didn't," he said.

Terranova argued that Cummings had "reached the breaking point" out of aggravation with her daughter's bad hygiene and criticism of her parenting. He called Cummings a "complex individual" who tried to be a good mother by putting her daughter Laura out of "her perceived misery." 

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March 2, 2010 - DA: Mother Forced Mentally Disabled Daughter Laura Cummings to Eat Feces and Die