A Billionaire's Daughter Killed Her Boyfriend — Some Say the Punishment Didn't Fit the Crime

"We all make mistakes. That doesn't mean she's a bad person. That doesn't mean she belongs in the state penitentiary."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 20 2024, Published 1:53 p.m. ET

Susan Cummings at the courthouse for her trial
Source: Getty Images

According to Time Magazine, Susan Cummings inherited a love for guns from her billionaire father Samuel Cummings, founder of the International Armament Corporation. This is something her boyfriend, Argentinian polo player Roberto Villegas, would often brag about to friends. The couple met in 1995 when Cummings was 33 and Villegas was 36. Cummings lived at her family's home in Virginia where she was learning how to play Polo at the Willow Run Polo school. Villegas was a teacher.

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Most people described Cummings as shy and reserved except for when it came to animals. She was an avid animal lover who saw the same thing in Villegas, who was a kind and patient teacher. He was also a very good polo player. Despite their differences the two fell in love but in September 1997, Cummings shot and killed Villegas. Where is she now? Here's what we know.

Susan Cummings (C) with her mother (L) and one of her attorneys
Source: Getty Images
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Before we get into where Susan Cummings is now, let's dive into the murder.

Before the couple started dating, Cummings invited Villegas to become a "resident pro on her new Ashland Farm team," reported the Washington City Paper. Instead of paying rent, Villegas took care of the horses and was given a place to live. He came from a very modest family in Argentina while Cummings was surrounded by wealth. Although their bank accounts couldn't be more different, they were both pretty down to earth. Pretty soon, Cummings was accompanying Villegas everywhere and was happily giggling beside him.

In an episode of Vanity Fair Confidential, a different side of Cummings was revealed. She was extremely jealous which often led to arguments. One story that circulated on the farm involved her twin sister Diana, who playfully swatted Villegas's backside when he was going into the house. Cummings flew off the handle and sent him to bed as if he were a child. Both sisters denied this ever happened, but several people claimed Villegas told them the story. Regardless, things weren't perfect.

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The root of their problems was also money. Cummings had full financial control of Villegas who in turn, almost entirely depended upon her. It was an imbalanced relationship that was bound to crumble. To go from everything to nothing was a scary prospect for Villegas who according to Cummings, began threatening her when she tried to break up with him.

(L-R): Susan Cummings; Roberto Villegas
Source: Getty Images; Find a grave
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In August 1997, Cummings went to the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office to file a domestic abuse report. She said that Villegas was the jealous person in their relationship who went on violent rants when she brought up the subject of breaking up. Because of this, Cummings claimed she was terrified he might actually hurt her. Still, she refused to get a restraining order against Villegas. Things came to a head a month later.

Susan Cummings killed Roberto Villegas and got a slap on the wrist.

On Sept. 7, 1997, Cummings and Villegas argued about the fact that he was going to play in a polo match that day. He had just been in one the day before and Cummings, an avid animal-lover, was worried about the horses. At 8:51 a.m., she called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher, "I need to report a shot man, and he’s dead," per the Washington City Paper. She then told the operator he tried to kill her.

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Susan Cummings with her lawyer after the trial
Source: Getty Images

Cummings told police Villegas attacked her with a "bone-handled knife he’d won at a polo match several years earlier." There were slash marks on Cummings's arms and the knife was found near Villegas's body. She shot her boyfriend four times. Her attorneys painted a picture of a terrified woman acting in self-defense while the prosecution alleged Cummings shot Villegas in a jealous rage after he said he wanted to leave her.

Ultimately she was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 60 days in prison, per the Washington Post. "I feel very happy," said Cummings about the decision. Her lawyer said, "All of us have a breaking point. We all make mistakes. That doesn't mean she's a bad person. That doesn't mean she belongs in the state penitentiary." Since then Cummings has remained out of the public eye apart from a 2003 lawsuit she settled with Villegas's son.

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