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Monday, July 16, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Murdering for God

Article found by Atheist Dad

A Cypress man charged in the death of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant said Saturday that he was doing God's work when he went to a Montrose-area bar last month, hunting for a gay man to kill.

"I believe I'm Elijah, called by God to be a prophet," said 26-year-old Terry Mark Mangum, charged with murder June 11. " ... I believe with all my heart that I was doing the right thing."

Interviewed in the Brazoria County Jail Saturday morning, Mangum said he feels no remorse for killing 46-year-old Kenneth Cummings Jr., whom relatives described as a "loving" son who never forgot a holiday and a devoted uncle who had set up college funds for his niece and nephew. He worked at Southwest for 24 years.

Mangum, who described himself as "definitely not a homosexual," said God called on him to "carry out a code of retribution" by killing a gay man because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."

Mangum believed Cummings to be gay.

"I planned on sending him to hell," he said.

Cummings disappeared June 4. His charred remains were found June 16, buried on a 50-acre ranch near San Antonio owned by Mangum's 90-year-old grandfather.

Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne would not comment on the case, citing a gag order issued by a judge Saturday afternoon.

The Chronicle was unable to reach Mangum's attorney, Perry Stevens.

Mangum — who claimed he has studied the Bible for "thousands and thousands and thousands of hours" — said God first commanded him to kill during a "visitation," or dream, while he was in prison in 2001. He said his victim must be a man because men "carry the harvest of the sinner."

After six months' planning, Mangum said, he went to E.J.'s, a Montrose-area club, where he met Cummings. After they drank a couple of beers, he said, the two went to Cummings' home in Pearland.

Mangum said he stabbed Cummings with a "6-inch blade."

"It's not that I'm a bad dude," he said, expressing concern that people might view him as "strange." Pausing briefly, he said, "I love God."

When police searched Cummings' home, they found traces of blood that someone had tried to clean up, as well as evidence that a struggle had taken place, according to court documents.

Mangum became a suspect not long after Cummings disappeared, for reasons officials have declined to disclose.

Tim Miller, executive director of Texas Equusearch, which found Cummings' remains, said last month that Mangum had used Cummings' credit cards to buy lighter fluid, a flashlight and hydrogen peroxide while he was en route to dispose of the body outside San Antonio.

When credit card records showed that the cards had been used near San Antonio, investigators ran a property-records search that led them to the ranch owned by a Robert Mangum, Miller said.

Store video also showed that the person using the cards appeared to be Terry Mangum, investigators have said.

Cummings' remains were soon found in a shallow grave.

The Facts, the daily newspaper in Brazoria County, has reported that Mangum told investigators he did not kill Cummings. Mangum first said he killed Cummings, during a jailhouse interview Friday with that paper.

He is being held on $500,000 bail.