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Family tyrant executed for niece's death

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MCALESTER, Okla., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Jesse James Cummings, described as a cruel, violent patriarch and bigamist, has been executed for killing his 11-year-old niece.

Cummings, 52, who proclaimed his innocence as he lay strapped to a gurney awaiting a lethal injection, was put to death late Thursday at the Oklahoma State Prison in McAlester for the 1991 death of Melissa Moody.

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A second murder conviction for the slaying of his half sister, Judy Moody Mayo, Melissa's mother, had been overturned on appeal. One of Cummings' wives confessed he forced her to kill Mayo.

"The justice system let me down on this case," Cummings said shortly before he died. "It turned a blind eye to truth in this."

At the time of the slayings, Cummings lived in Phillips, Okla., with his ailing father, his wives, Sherry and Juanita Cummings, and one child of each woman, the Tulsa World said. His half-sister and niece lived in nearby Tushka.

His wives testified that Cummings used violence, rape and incest to control his family.

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