The trial against one defendant charged in the slayings of Karl Tuxford and Jordan Finlon in January 2016 has be delayed until April — after new evidence was uncovered last week.
On Jan. 19, 2016, Bradenton police officers found Tuxford, 38, shot to death in his Jeep when they were called to the 1100 block of Eighth Avenue East just before 1 p.m. to reports of gunfire. Less than an hour later, deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office were called out to Bishop Harbor Road in northern Manatee County after motorists spotted a body on the side of the road, later identified as Finlon, 23.
Dwayne Edward Cummings, 39, was the first suspect identified, charged and arrested in the case. He later indicted by a grand jury on two counts of first-degree murder, armed kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
If convicted, Cummings would automatically be sentenced to life in prison since the state is not seeking the death penalty.
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Ahmad Leon Dunbar, 38, was identified by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office as a suspect Feb. 15 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was later arrested in Columbus, Ga., and charged with second-degree murder with a firearm in the fatal shooting of Tuxford, but he has not been charged in Finlon’s death.
Cummings and Dunbar were both scheduled to appear in court Friday, but only Cummings and his defense appeared.
A member of Cumming’s defense team, Lily McCarty Gonzalez, requested more time to prepare and that the trial be delayed from the two-week trial period beginning Feb. 21. Assistant State Attorney Art Brown had no objection, saying that detectives had found significant new evidence in the case last week.
Detectives followed up on information revealed during the deposition of a material witness in the case, Brown said, and were able to locate the new evidence last week during the execution of a search warrant. He did not elaborate on what the new evidence was.
“It’s really evidence that points at Mr. Dunbar,” Brown said. “But by implication, Mr. Cummings.”
Cummings’ trial was rescheduled to begin during the two-week trial period that begins April 24. He is next scheduled to appear in court at 8 a.m. April 7.
Within hours of the murders last year, detectives were able to determine that the two cases were connected, later revealing that Tuxford had been shot five times and Finlon stabbed more than 40 times in revenge for the two stealing money from Cummings’ home. Some of the money was allegedly later used to buy drugs.
Dunbar could still face charges in Finlon’s death. He is next scheduled to appear in court at 9 a.m. Wednesday.