Walter McCarthy Found Guilty but Insane of Killing Girlfriend's Dad in North Scottsdale

Laurinda Cumming is terrified.

She says her ex-boyfriend has pulled a fast one on the legal system, and now there's a chance he'll be released from custody even though he stabbed her father to death.

Walter McCarthy, 50, was found guilty but insane today of murdering Cumming's father, 83-year-old Vernon Cumming.

"There's a potential the murderer will walk free," she cries.

An official with the Maricopa County Attorneys Office told us last month that a finding of "insane" means McCarthy could be freed from the Arizona State Hospital someday, if doctors believe his mental illness is under control.

Cumming thinks McCarthy's faking his illness.

We're waiting to hear back from the prosecutor's office again about today's ruling by Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie, and how long McCarthy will likely stay behind bars before he receives a chance at freedom.

She'll never get over that night, she tells us:

Her mother had died about three months before the January 20, 2009 slaying, and she had invited her elderly father to come live in her north Scottsdale home with her and McCarthy. She'd been with McCarthy for about two or three years by that point, she says.

He was self-employed when she met him, getting disability pay because of a liver ailment and "flipping and fixing houses" to boost his income. "He has a very high IQ, and he's very manipulative," she says.

When her dad moved in, her relationship with McCarthy was on the skids and she "wanted to get him out." The right time just hadn't come yet to give him the boot.

She's still not sure what set him off. Maybe he was fearful her dad would come between him his girlfriend. Video surveillance at a grocery store shows that McCarthy and Vernon Cumming had had a serious argument shortly before they came home, she says.

McCarthy lured her father out to the garage, near the laundry room, and slit his throat. She started screaming and he ran at her, putting the knife to her neck, she says. He forced her head to the floor, where she saw her father still twitching. When McCarthy turned his attention back to Vernon, she stood up and ran out the open garage door as McCarthy kicked her father repeatedly.

He stabbed her father 27 times, she says.

Needless to say, Laurinda Cumming doesn't ever want to see McCarthy outside of a cell.

It remains to be seen whether that will ever happen.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.