BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Luke Wright learned his fate Tuesday for committing unthinkable acts against his disabled half sister, Laura Cummings.
Luke Wright will turn 70 before he is eligible for release from prison. Authorities called this one of the most horrendous cases of abuse they had ever seen. And even though Wright was not convicted of murder, the sheer brutality demanded a long prison term.
Defense attorney John Nuchereno said, “He has been victimized by the numerous brutal beatings.”
Despite Nuchereno’s plea for leniency, Erie County Judge Michael D’Amico said his hands were tied. A jury left no doubt, last month, when they found Luke Wright guilty on all 10 counts of raping, torturing, and sodomizing his half sister Laura Cummings.
Judge D’Amico said, “And of course as a result of that, there is no option, Mr. Wright, but to send you to state prison.”
After years of abuse, Laura Cummings, 23-years-old and developmentally disabled, was murdered by her mother Eva Cummings, who is now serving 52 years to life. Wright’s attorneys contend he was also a victim of abuse at the hands of family members, which also left him brain damaged.
Nuchereno said, “That one baseball bat blow to the head, where Cummings swung as hard as he could. Patricia, Luke Wright’s sister, though as Luke lied on the ground that he was dead.”
But prosecutors convinced jurors Wright knew what he was doing when he brutally raped, tortured, and sodomized his half sister.
Chief prosecutor Thomas Finnerty said, “And he knew it was wrong. The fact that he had been abused in the past, the fact that he’s mildly mental retarded, despite he was raised by a wicked, evil person, none of those are criminal defenses.”
Nuchereno noted after spending his life in a living hell, maybe prison won’t be so bad for Luke Wright, after all.
“Luke, unlike most children living in our country, will now have a bed for the first in his life. He’ll have three meals for the first time in his life. The Department of Corrections can take steps to ensure his safety,” said Nuchereno.
You could call it bittersweet irony that on the very day Luke Wright was sentenced for abusing Laura Cummings, late Monday afternoon the New York State Senate passed the Laura Cummings Law. It is designed to close loopholes in the law that authorities claim prevented them from protecting Laura from the abuse that led ultimately to her murder.
Learn more about the bill that passed on Monday from a press release from Sen. Maziarz’s office:
State Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) announced that legislation to improve the operations of the Child and Adult Protective Services systems in order to prevent tragedies like the murder of 23 year-old North Collins resident Laura Cummings unanimously passed in the New York State Senate today. The measure has been “Laura Cummings’ Law” in her memory.
Laura Cummings, a mentally and physically challenged young adult, was smothered to death by her mother on January 21, 2010 after a lifetime of physical, mental, and sexual abuse by some members of her family. Her death occurred despite numerous complaints to Erie County Department of Social Services officials about the torture she was enduring.
“The system failed Laura Cummings,” Senator Maziarz said. “Somehow, someone should have been able to step inside this home and put a stop to the constant terror Laura faced. This law will offer greater protections for some of the most vulnerable members of our society. If these provisions had been in place, Laura would be alive today.”
There are three major components to the law:
+After the second report of abuse of a child or an impaired adult, Child or Adult Protective Services will be empowered and required to seek a court order to enter the premises and investigate the inside of a home when access has been denied by the homeowner.
+Child Protective Services will be allowed to share information about prior abuse reports with Adult Protective Services once a complaint of abuse of an impaired adult has been made.
+It shall be a Class A misdemeanor to deny or attempt to deny any investigation of Child or Adult Protective Services when they are trying to access to an alleged victim for an interview.
“It baffles the mind to think about how terribly a parent can abuse a child,” Senator Maziarz added. “But regardless of how unimaginable a horrific scene like this appears to most of us, we must be vigilant that there is no shortcoming in the law or in our ability to take action to get someone in need out of a dangerous and life-threatening situation.”
Senator Maziarz’ legislation was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of a dozen senators, including every member of the Western New York Senate Delegation. Assemblyman John Ceretto will be sponsoring a same-as measure in the Assembly.