Cumbie takes plea deal in 2020 shooting homicide

A former correctional officer accepted a plea deal and was sentenced Wednesday for one count of second-degree murder with a firearm.

Thirty-year-old Joshua Caleb Cumbie pled no contest and agreed to do 35 years in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).

Cumbie is the second of three defendants in the case to be sentenced. The first was CumbieÂ’s wife, 27-year-old Jestiny Lee Fears, who was sentenced to 15 years in FDOC.

The case began in Aug. 2020 when the Washington County Communications Center received a call in reference to a body lying on the side of Jeffrey Boulevard. The victim, later identified as 28-year-old Charlie Robert Griffin, had been shot multiple times.

The investigation determined Griffin had left his residence with Cumbie and Jeremy Cole Long. Investigators stated Cumbie and Long conspired to rob Griffin prior to meeting him at his home.

The men planned to travel to Dothan, Ala. to purchase narcotics but never made it to the destination. Griffin, Cumbie and Long went to another residence in the county before driving to a dirt road, where one of the assailants pulled Griffin out of the car, robbed him and shot him several times.

WCSO was told by the assailants that Griffin owed Fears $400, which was a factor in the killing.

During the investigation, Cumbie and Fears fled with their two small children to New York. On Aug. 15, 2020, Cumbie called Sheriff Kevin Crews who attempted to talk Cumbie into turning himself in.

In a comment to Crews, Cumbie said, “I am 1,000 miles away, and I want to spend more time with my boy.”

On Aug. 17, Cumbie called Crews a second time and told him, “I have gone as far as I can go. I am at Central Park in New York City letting my kids play.”

Sheriff Crews was able to keep Cumbie on the phone for about an hour-and-a-half and negotiated a peaceful surrender. Cumbie was taken into custody by the New York Police Department.

Long is set to be sentenced Sept. 16 for one count of second-degree murder with a firearm.