By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Essex County prosecutors have charged Reginald Cummings, the Newburyport High School graduate considered a person of interest in the murder of an Amesbury man last November, with illegal disposal of a corpse and accessory after the fact.
In a further development, court documents confirm prosecutors’ belief that the victim, Dennis Ray Jackson, was dismembered in Salisbury on or about Nov. 12, and that police are still on the lookout for others who may be responsible.
Days after the alleged murder, Jackson’s charred remains were found in two locations — inside a barrel located on property owned by Bridgewater State Prison and behind a building in the Hyde Park section of Boston.
A day later, more than a dozen state, local and Boston law enforcement officials searched the Salisbury Beach apartment Cummings had rented in September and that Jackson had visited on many occasions. Police sources have told The Daily News that Jackson may have been killed in the apartment.
Cummings, 26, of Haverhill, was arraigned yesterday at Newburyport District Court on those two charges and ordered held without bail pending a pretrial hearing scheduled for May 22.
But Cummings may never see the Newburyport courtroom, as court documents show he is likely to be indicted in Salem Superior Court prior to that day. The most recent charges against Cummings were filed April 10.
His arraignment came just as he was set to be released after serving a sentence in a Middlesex County facility. Warrants for his arrest were issued on April 10, so instead of being released he was taken to Newburyport to answer for the new charges, according to Essex County District Attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell.
On the same day, Essex County prosecutor Maura Bailey successfully petitioned for the police report detailing the events leading to the raid to be impounded. In her motion, Bailey confirms that the new charges against Cummings concern: “an ongoing investigation of the murder of Dennis Jackson whose body was dismembered in Salisbury, Massachusetts on or about November 12, 2013.”
“The murder is still under investigation and co-conspirators are still at large,” Bailey writes.
Bailey argued that the police report contains details of the incident that would result in media coverage that could trigger suspects to flee the area or the destruction of crucial evidence.
Furthermore, should the police report become public, it may impair the ability of law enforcement to confirm any tips they receive or complicate matters for prosecutors to find an impartial jury, Bailey writes.
Cummings has been behind bars since December, when he was arrested by San Diego police after allegedly slipping across the border from Mexico. According to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, Cummings waived extradition, allowing him to be transported back to this area to answer for an alleged probation violation unrelated to the discovery of Jackson’s remains.
On Dec. 10, Cummings was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail in Haverhill District Court for probation violations stemming from a drug distribution case.
He also has a pending case of malicious destruction of property stemming from the alleged destruction of a Haverhill commercial space that he and another man had rented for use as a recording studio.
Cummings, an aspiring rapper who goes by the stage name R.E. Clipz, has performed on many stages across the area, including the Honey Pot Lounge in Seabrook, and founded Proficient Records based in Haverhill. He has been in trouble with the law before and after graduating Newburyport High School in 2005, and is known to area police as a drug dealer, according to court records.