James and Amber Cummings were attractive, young and wealthy. They lived in beautiful Belfast, Maine. James had inherited millions from his father and it kept he and Amber very comfortable during their 12-year marriage. On the surface, they had the world by the short and curlies. In reality Amber wasn’t a happy person and neither was James. James was a white supremacist and a paranoid schizophrenic. He physically, sexually and emotionally abused Amber on a regular basis. James used his wealth to purchase authentic Nazi paraphernalia. Delusional and agitated, James went through each day believing others were out to get him. He didn’t want Amber to leave the house. He believed she was out plotting with other people against him. He couldn’t tolerate anyone else in her life, not even family. Amber’s mother and sister had to sneak to the Cummings’ house to watch Clara riding her tricycle.
James moved his family several times in a bid to separate Amber from her family. He managed to keep her isolated for a long time. James was no kinder to his daughter, Clara. He often tried to beat Clara but Amber stepped in and took the abuse herself. Good for Amber. At least she didn’t let James the Jerk abuse their child. Amber suffered terribly at James’ hands. He regularly raped, beat, kicked and punched her. One horrible day, James managed to lock himself into Clara’s room where he beat her mercilessly. Amber tried several times to escape her mentally ill husband but he always found her and brought her home. She was utterly under his control.
James became sicker. He became obsessed with child pornography and downloaded hundreds of images onto his computer. He forced Amber to select the “best ones”. Amber knew it was only a matter of time before her horrible husband began sexually abusing little Clara. James ran his household rather similarly to Hitler and his government of Germany. Eventually Amber couldn’t tolerate James any longer. December 2008 started like any other day. Amber prepared Clara for the new day and sent her downstairs to play. Then she walked into her bedroom and pulled out a .45 shotgun from under her pillow. Her intention was to kill herself. Uh-oh. That would leave Clara with James. What was a woman to do? Of course! Amber would shoot James instead. Walking into his bedroom she shot him in the head twice as he slept. You go, girl.
Amber had been beaten and cornered. It was either fight or flight and flight hadn’t helped her in the past. Chief Jeffrey Trafton stated “it’s hard for us to justify shooting somebody who’s asleep in a bed.” But to his credit he did state “she looked more like a victim than a killer.” Trafton was astounded by the Nazi paraphernalia in the house and concluded that James Cummings was a danger to the community. Amber claimed she killed to protect Clara. The FBI arrived at the Cummings house and what did they find but the ingredients for a “dirty bomb” a device that kills with toxins rather than an explosion. Seriously. Guess who the ingredients belonged to? James had decided Barack Obama should never have been elected President. He intended to attend the Presidential Inauguration to kill thousands of people with the bomb. Amber saved people at the inauguration within one month of the inauguration date. However vigilante justice cannot prevail in the community. Amber was brought to trial where she pled guilty. 100 people arrived at the courthouse supporting her by wearing t-shirts that read “Free Amber.” Justice Jeffrey Hjelm gave her an 8-year suspended sentence, meaning she walked out a free woman. She was diagnosed with a condition called “shared psychotic disorder,” meaning that she absorbed some of James’ madness. Justice, as far as I’m concerned, was served.
**Update** Amber and Clara moved to Maine, near the Pacific coastline. Although Amber stated,“there was a lot of support, an unbelievable amount of support, in Belfast. People came out and took care of us and made sure we had everything we need,” she chose to relocate. Amber and Clara are living their lives …. without fear.