BUFFALO, NY - Tuesday morning, Luke Wright of North Collins is facing a life sentence for the rape and torture of his mentally-challenged sister, Laura Cummings.
Eva Cummings is already serving a life sentence after admitting to killing her daughter.
There was a woman whose name came up a number of times at Luke Wright's trial, a shadowy figure when it came to how Laura and the Cummings family lived.
Her name is Joyce Landahl.
Landahl is Eva Cummings cousin and also lives in North Collins.
During Wright's trial, another of Laura's brothers, Richard Cummings testified that Landahl controlled everything having to do with the family.
Scott Brown: "You guys had no phone is that right?"
Richard Cummings: "Correct."
Scott Brown: "No car?"
Richard Cummings: "Correct, she was the whole transportation where we went and how we spent our day."
Landahl's control of everything included the family's finances.
Because of mental handicaps, Laura, Eva Cummings, and Luke Wright received SSI Disability checks of about $600 a month each.
Joyce Landahl was the designated payee for all of those checks.
2 On Your Side has obtained this document where Landahl requested to be the designated payee for Luke Wright.
All told, by her own admission, Landahl controlled about $2,000 that came to the family in the three SSI checks, which included Laura's.
In addition to that money, another of Laura's brothers, Edward Overmeyer, testified during the trial that he worked 60 to 70 hours a week at a diner in town.
Scott Brown: "The money you made at the diner, where did that go?"
Edward Overmeyer: "It went with Joyce. I would give it to her all the time. Every paycheck, everything I gave to her."
Scott Brown: "And why did you do that?"
Edward Overmeyer: "I thought I was helping out my mother, that's what I got told by Joyce."
Richard would also earn money by doing odd jobs around town.
Richard Cummings: "She would track us down and we would have to give her every penny to her."
And that's something John Stevens, a prominent citizen in town, who called the County twice to report allegations that Laura was being abused, vouches for having seen it happen to Richard."
John Stevens: "All of the money went to Joyce Landahl. All of the money that the boys earned, like our neighbor Terry, he worked for her, she'd (Landahl) wait down at the end of the road and as soon as he got paid, he'd go down there and have to turn over the money."
Richard testified during Wright's trial that when he was about 18 he went to his mother and Landahl and told them he wanted to keep some of the money he was earning.
Their response, he testified was that they threw him out of the house.
Richard Cummings: "That night I had taken all of my clothes down the street to my friend's house. Then I went back the next day to get the rest of my stuff and found they had thrown it in the dumpster behind the home."
The brothers and those who knew the family well say they lived in abject poverty.
During Luke Wright's trial, the brothers testified that there were no beds in the home.
Scott Brown: "Tell me about the inside of the house, what it looked like, where you would sleep things like that?"
Richard Cummings: "It was horrid. Before I had moved out of the house, I was sleeping on the couch. We'd have to pick up furniture from the side of the road just to have furniture inside the house.
"My mother would have to go to the church up the street and every Tuesday or Wednesday to pick up the food at the food pantry and then bring it back."
Edward Overmeyer: "We got used clothes all the time, next door neighbors or down at the food pantry and bring them home. Churches would give us clothes."
Scott Brown: "Did you have a bed that you slept in?"
Edward Overmeyer: "No, I slept on a couch."
Joseph Terranova was Eva Cummings' attorney- he went into the house on Sherman Avenue shortly after Laura's death.
Scott Brown: "Can you just describe what the inside of that apartment looked like?"
Joseph Terranova, Eva Cummings' attorney: "Piles of stuff, piles of junk. No one had a bed, Eva slept on a couch in the living room. No beds, no beds at all. I didn't even see a mattress in there."
We learned that during Luke Wright's trial, Laura was forced to sleep on the floor without a mattress, or she was tied to a chair at night.
Last year, as part of our investigation into Laura's murder, and the county's failure to protect Laura despite numerous calls that she was being abused, we were able to do a brief interview with Joyce Landahl.
This is the first time the interview has aired.
Landahl agreed to speak with us but did not want to appear on camera.
Despite what Richard and Edward told us about the crushing poverty the family lived in, Landahl denied taking any of the government money for her own use.
Joyce Landahl: "They weren't needy, when you had two thousand dollars a month coming in and buy eight or nine cartons of cigarettes and you buy this and that it doesn't take long for a little bit of money to go."
Scott Brown: "In terms of checks that they would receive, Disability or SSI, would you handle money for them?"
Joyce Landahl: "No I would not, Eva (Cummings) would handle the money. I didn't have no right doing that, I cashed the checks like I was supposed to. That's all I did and handed it back to Eva. That was their money that was not my money."
Landahl also denied Edward's claims that he would hand over his paychecks to her.
Joyce Landahl: "Absolutely not true."
Scott Brown: "Why would he say that if it weren't true?"
Joyce Landahl: "I don't know, they say all kind of things I really don't know, I can't tell you, I don't know, but I'm not going to get rich over what they made."
Richard Cummings: "That's absolutely false- she took every penny of the household, she knew where every penny went."
Landahl claims she helped to care for Laura by bringing her lunch every day to the house on Sherman.
Joyce Landahl: "We would take them over a meal every day, faithfully, faithfully. I've been there for them kids all my life since they moved here, all my life. I was there everyday, twice a day."
The District Attorney's office has said that over Laura's two years of her life, Laura suffered horrific torture and abuse.
During Luke Wright's trial, the Medical Examiner testified that during the autopsy on Laura's body, he found 30 separate injuries that she had suffered.
Scott Brown: "From what I'm told by the authorities over the last couple of months of her life, things got really bad."
Joyce Landahl: "I didn't see them bad, if they did get bad I didn't see nothing, nothing."
Scott Brown: "No bruises?"
Joyce Landahl: "I saw them one time."
That one time according to Landahl, was about a week before Laura was killed.
Joyce Landahl: "Her mother and I went to Springville, I had to go to the tractor place and she did have a black eye. And I asked her where she got it and she said she fell in the bathtub. That's what Laura told me, her mother was in the back (of the car) and her mother said that's right she slipped in the bathtub, I didn't question it."
It was revealed during Wright's trial that Laura would spend some nights at Landahl's home.
According to testimony at Wright's trial, Laura was taken out special education classes when she was 16.
Laura was just 23 when she was killed.
Joyce Landahl was her designated SSI payee until the day she died.
Scott Brown: "In your opinion, why was it that Laura wasn't placed in a group home by the mother or Joyce Landahl?"
Joseph Terranova, Eva Cummings' attorney: "It was suggested that Laura be placed in a group home, my understanding from speaking with Eva (the mother) was that there was tacit agreement among her and Joyce (Landahl) that 'why give up this money?" Why give up this benefit and have it go to somebody else when we can take care of her and keep the money.
"Anybody looking at that situation would say that Laura would be alive today and would positively benefit from a group home setting."
Recently, while working on this story we went back to Joyce Landahl's house in North Collins to ask her about these allegations.
We identified ourselves and someone who said he was a family friend, answered the door.
"She's not going to be doing any interviews. She doesn't want to be bothered and she has no comment. She's in no condition to be harassed by the media right now," said the family friend.
Scott Brown: "I'm not trying to harass her, I'm just trying to ask her some questions. Our story is going to air in the near future so I'm hoping to get her side of things. So if she could call me that would be great."
Joyce Landahl never called us back.
Meanwhile, 2 On Your Side has learned that the Social Security Administration has begun looking into how Joyce Landahl handled those Disability checks.