By Bob Weaver

It took a Clay County jury 32 minutes last week to find Richard Cummings (left) not guilty in what had been described as the get-even shooting of Tommy Young Sr.

The decision may have ended a recent chapter of Clay County mayhem on Murder Mountain, a remote area between Ovapa and Grannies Creek in Roane County.

After hundreds of rounds of semi-automatic gunfire rang across the Clay County mountains last year, a resident told the Herald, "All hell broke loose, and they're trying to kill each other."

All the principal players in the bitter feud, mostly related to drug trafficking, have been found not guilty or are out of jail.

The Clay Communicator reported "With nobody found guilty of anything, all those shots heard by neighbors last fall must have been firecrackers, or something of the like. Only the squirrels on Murder Mountain know the truth, and they've all died from lead poisoning."

The Clay judge told the court that he did not want the name "Murder Mountain" used in testimony.

Jurors heard four witnesses testify that Richard Cummings never left his Little Italy residence the day Tommy Young, Sr.(left) was shot in the leg with a 12-guage shotgun.

They said that Cummings was peeling potatoes when Young was shot.

Charleston attorney Bill Lester implied to the jury that Young had been shot by his own son while blasting away a box of ammo.

A few days earlier, Young had been charged with shooting Cummings several times with an assault weapon.

Cummings took the stand last week and said he wouldn't have used a shotgun loaded with bird shot if he wanted to kill Young.

He would have used a high powered rifle, saying the shotgun allegedly used to shoot Young was a "junk gun." If he had owned it, he would have "hacked" the barrel down to 18-1/4 inches.

The case against Tommy Young, Sr., who was accused of the wanton endangerment and malicious wounding of Cummings, was dropped.

Last August, residents reported a bloody, bullet riddled Richard Cummings had walked off the mountain and asked for help, knocking on doors.

Police found Cummings on a front porch with several gunshot wounds to his body. Reports said that Cummings was being chased by Tommy Young, Sr., Tommy Young, Jr. and a 12-year-old Jacob Young.

Some of those suspects reportedly fired on a mobile home belonging to Cummings, striking Cummings who was inside. Cummings, on the run down the mountain, was struck again by gunfire.

Renee Boyd, long-time girlfriend of Tommy Young, Sr., indicates bullet holes through her home on Murder Mountain, with several children inside

Cumming's sister, Renee Boyd, who has had a longtime relationship with Tommy Young, accused her brother of helping grind-up the body of an 18-year-old Roane County girl Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt (left) missing since August 31, 2002.

Boyd claimed her brother was a party to making "b - - - h burgers" from the body of the missing girl, claiming her remains were digested.

Authorities have said they have yet to find any evidence supporting Boyd's claim.

The Spencer woman is still missing three years later after she left her mother's apartment to purchase a pack of cigarettes.

Cummings and his girlfriend Sandra Kahlaff were involved in the murder of Roane County resident Judson Reid. They testified against "Tattoo Vince" Gosolow of Tariff, who is now serving time for the murder.

Cummings and Kahlaff hauled Reid's body to Clay, dumping it on Pisgah Ridge above the Town of Clay.

Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt was an acquaintance of "Tattoo Vince" Gosolow, and likely knew the other principals involved in the Reid murder.

Read "IT IS A WAR ZONE" from 8/20/04

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