Tray Phelps Murder: A Horrific Tale Of Deceit And Betrayal

tray pehlps murder

Tray Phelps murder was a tragic event that shook the small town of Hayti, Missouri.

Through the tireless efforts of law enforcement, justice was served, and the perpetrators were brought to justice. 

On September 24, 2015, the town of Hayti, Missouri, was shaken by the brutal murder of Tray Phelps, a beloved family man and musician. 

The investigation that followed unraveled a web of deceit and betrayal, leading to the arrest and conviction of five individuals.

Tray Phelps lived on Swan Lake Drive in Hayti, Missouri, where he resided with his fiancée and their five-year-old son.

His ex-wife, Heather Cummings, had recently been granted joint custody of their son, a decision which did not sit well with her. 

On the morning of September 24, 2015, Tray’s body was discovered lying in his driveway next to his car.

An autopsy revealed that he died from blunt force trauma inflicted by an unknown object.

Investigation and Arrests

The police investigation immediately focused on Heather Cummings, who had a rocky relationship with Tray and was not happy about sharing custody of their son. 

The day after the murder, the police arrested Heather’s then-boyfriend, Bert Allen Ellison, from Bradford, Tennessee, and charged him with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. 

Bert had pictures of Tray’s home on his phone, indicating his involvement in the murder.

As the investigation continued, the police arrested Heather’s father, Chester Cummings, on October 7, 2015, also on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Chester claimed that he drove Bert to Tray’s home but did not know about his plan to murder him. 

The police also arrested Michael Jay Hemingway for tampering with physical evidence and Ronda Jean Cummings, Heather’s mother, for hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence.

Tray Phelps murder: The investigation continues

The police suspected that someone had helped the perpetrators dispose of or hide evidence.

According to a probable cause statement, Michael Jay Hemingway confessed to helping the murderers dispose of a bag that contained evidence of the crime. 

Chester Cummings handed the bag to Hemingway, who disposed of it.

The police investigation unveiled vital evidence implicating Chester and Bert in a murder case. 

This evidence revealed that Tray’s ex-wife, Heather Cummings, had dropped both suspects at Tray’s residence on the morning of the murder.

In November 2015, Heather was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Where is he now?

After her arrest in 2017, Heather Cummings appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. 

In earlier proceedings, her former boyfriend, Bert Ellison, and her father, Chester Cummings, had also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and second-degree murder, respectively. 

Ellison received a five-year prison sentence for his involvement in the conspiracy, while Ronda Cummings, Heather’s mother, was sentenced to four years in prison for her role in the murder.

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