HAVERHILL – In his first Massachusetts court appearance since his capture in California, a Salisbury man with suspected ties to the killing and dismembering of a 24-year-old man was ordered held on $100,000 bail Tuesday on unrelated charges.
Reginald Cummings, 26, rented a home in Salisbury that investigators believe may be linked to the death of Dennis Ray Jackson, whose remains were found in separate locations last month. Portions of Jackson’s body were found burning in a barrel near the Bridgewater state prison complex, and behind an industrial building in Hyde Park.
Cummings, an aspiring rapper, has not been charged in Jackson’s death, but was sought for questioning after investigators found evidence in the case at his recently rented home.
The following week, Cummings was arrested in California near the Mexican border. He was returned to Massachusetts; he had missed several court hearings related to a malicious destruction of property charge brought against him in March. He had also violated probation in a drug-dealing case and had outstanding court costs.
On Tuesday, he was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail on those charges after prosecutors and Cummings’ defense lawyer agreed he posed a flight risk.
The malicious destruction charges stemmed from a large party at a recording studio in August 2012, according to court records. Cummings was a partner in the studio, which had been the subject of previous loud music complaints, police said. The drug case, from April 2012, involved cocaine dealing. Cummings was sentenced to probation but violated his terms by failing to take required drug tests, court records show.
Cummings’s lawyer, William Keefe, declined to comment outside the courtroom. The Essex district attorney’s office also declined to comment.
Last month, Cummings told a California television station that he had no role in Jackson’s death and found out about it when he was in Mexico. He said Jackson was a gang member and that his life was “always in danger because he made decisions that you shouldn’t make sometimes.”
In the interview, Cummings described Jackson as his friend.
Jackson grew up in Worcester. In 2006, at age 16, he was arrested on charges of armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Two years later, Jackson was arrested and later convicted of assault and battery on a police officer.
The next year, his father took out a restraining order against him, and the mother of two of his children told police he had tried to strangle her.