Christopher & Kyle Cummings

Murderers: Daniel Pardee, 19, Kyle Cummings, 15, & Christopher Cummings, 14,

Victim: Jennifer Boleander, 16

Crime location: Niagara Falls

Crime date: December 14, 2002

Weapon: Knife

Murder method: Stabbing

Convictions: Pardee– intentional murder and first-degree conspiracy; Kyle & Christopher Cummings-guilty pleas to second-degree murder

Sentences: Pardee-25 years to life; C. Cummings–10 years to life; K. Cummings–six years to life

Incarceration status: K. Cummings was paroled but has been re-arrested; C. Cummings is eligible for parole in November 2020; Pardee is at the Auburn Correctional Facility and is eligible for parole December 16, 2028

Bolender File Art006.jpg
K. Cummings in 2003
Photo of Kyle Cummings next to photo of Jennifer Bolender
K. Cummings (left) Jennifer (right)

Summary

Pardee and Kyle Cummings severely beat Jennifer after she resisted Pardee’s attempts to kiss her. They left her for dead and returned with Cummings’s younger brother Christopher to ensure that Jennifer was dead and to remove evidence. When they found that Jennifer was still alive they slashed and stabbed her to death. Pardee was convicted at trial and the Cummings brothers plead guilty. K. Cummings was paroled in 2019 after 16 years. He was later charged with second-degree rape, second-degree child abuse, third-degree sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. 

Details

From Examples of Juvenile Murderers

19-year-old Daniel Pardee attacked Jennifer after she resisted his attempts to kiss her. He punched her and knocked her to the ground and then continued to punch and stomp on her as she begged for mercy. Kyle Cummings, 15, joined in the punching and stomping as well. The teens then left 16-year-old Jennifer for dead at a pedestrian bridge over the LaSalle Expressway. They later returned, along with Kyle’s brother 14-year-old Christopher Cummings, to clean up evidence and make the crime look like a robbery attempt gone wrong. They also intended to ensure that Jennifer was dead. When they found that she was still alive, they dragged her up the pedestrian bridge and slashed and stabbed her to death. C. Cummings slashed Jennifer’s throat from ear to ear and Pardee stabbed her nearly 50 times.

First of three convicted killers in 2002 Niagara Falls murder to be  released from prison | News 4 Buffalo

JURY HEARS DESCRIPTION OF GIRL’S SLAYING ON OVERPASS

For an hour and 40 minutes Tuesday, Kyle A. Cummings told a Niagara County Court jury how 16-year-old Jennifer M. Bolender was killed Dec. 14 on a pedestrian overpass in Niagara Falls.

Cummings, a prosecution witness in the murder trial of his friend Daniel W. Pardee, 20, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as an accomplice.

Cummings testified that, after his release last Nov. 1 from Wyndham Lawn, a Lockport residence for troubled adolescents where he had been confined for almost two years, he was in touch every day with Pardee, whom he had known since he was 12.

Cummings said he had met Jennifer through Pardee before going to Wyndham Lawn. He said he and his brother joined Pardee to meet Jennifer and a friend Dec. 12 at Prime Outlets Mall in the Town of Niagara.

Pardee and Jennifer argued over money outside the mall, Cummings said, adding that he saw the girl hit Pardee in the face. Pardee then began choking the girl with his left hand, Cummings said, saying Pardee’s left arm is very strong although his right hand is deformed and of little use.

On the night of Dec. 13-14, Cummings said he and Pardee went to Beverly Lanes in Niagara Falls for midnight bowling. He said his mother gave him a knife and Pardee asked to have it “in case there was an altercation at the bowling alley.”

Cummings said after another argument at the bowling alley, Jennifer and the boys left. She and Pardee argued again outside Denny’s restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard, and Jennifer crossed the street. The boys saw her talking to another man in the parking lot of a motel.

“He started to get upset,” Cummings said.

The boys eventually yelled across the street for Jennifer to rejoin them, which she did after being asked about four times, Cummings said.

Pardee said they would walk her home, Cummings said, but when they stopped to smoke on the pedestrian overpass above the LaSalle Expressway, he tried three times to kiss her, and she kept pushing him away.

“He just swung around and hit her, hit her with his good arm,” Cummings said. He said the girl fell, and he saw Pardee kick her in the head repeatedly and jump up and down on her face.

Cummings said Pardee ordered him to help him drag Jennifer back up to the top of the overpass. He wept briefly as he recalled grabbing the girl’s jacket. He said Pardee kicked and stomped her head again before stabbing her two or three times in the neck with the knife he had given him.

They walked home, and Cummings said he helped Pardee wash the blood off his hands, his coat and his boots. Cummings said Pardee told his brother Christopher what had happened. The three agreed to cut their thumbs in a blood oath of secrecy and return to the scene to make sure the girl was dead and remove evidence.

Cummings said his brother stabbed Jennifer in the throat with a knife, while Pardee stabbed her in the chest and thighs with a pair of scissors.

They put the weapons in the bag and took it to the Cummings home, burying it in the back yard.

He said they then went inside and smoked some cigarettes Pardee had taken from Jennifer’s purse. They listened to the police scanner to wait for the body to be found.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza canceled the Tuesday afternoon session of the trial to give the defense time to go through the 16-year-old Cummings’ records in preparing cross-examination.

Since he was 15 at the time of the slaying, the maximum sentence Cummings could receive was nine years to life in prison. But the district attorney’s office offered him six years to life in exchange for his testimony against Pardee.

PARDEE CONVICTED OF MURDERING TEEN GIRL

Daniel W. Pardee faces a likely sentence of 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of murder Monday in the 2002 stabbing death of 16-year-old Jennifer M. Bolender.

A Niagara County Court jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning its verdict of guilty to intentional murder and first-degree conspiracy at about 7:20 p.m.

“How do you like it now?” the victim’s mother, Tina Balsano, shouted at Pardee as the defendant was led past a knot of reporters after the court session.

The pale, diminutive Pardee, his lower lip trembling, looked at Balsano as he shuffled along in his shackles. For an instant, it seemed as if he might say something, but he didn’t.

Pardee took the verdict hard and had to be helped from the courtroom after the jury left. His family was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, but later his sobbing mother was allowed to visit him briefly in the prisoner holding room.

Jennifer’s family embraced one another and the prosecuting attorneys. Assistant District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek, who Monday became the first woman attorney to give a summation in a murder trial in Niagara County, wiped away a tear, too.

“There should have been no doubt,” she said. “This case, in our opinion, was always intentional.”

Wojtaszek praised the work of the Niagara Falls Police Department. “Obviously, this case was built solidly because of them,” she said.

Pardee, 20, of Niagara Falls, is to be sentenced Dec. 16 by Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza.

Two co-defendants who pleaded guilty to murder as accomplices to Pardee and testified against him are to be sentenced Thursday. Kyle A. Cummings, 16, and Christopher D. Cummings, 15, admitted involvement in the attack on Bolender, which occurred in the early hours of Dec. 14 on a pedestrian overpass above the LaSalle Expressway in Niagara Falls.

Jennifer was stabbed 47 times, and her face and head were repeatedly kicked and stomped, prosecutors said.

“She can rest in peace,” Balsano said of her daughter. “Hopefully, the next step is to get the maximum sentence.”

District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III, who worked with Wojtaszek on the prosecution, said a consecutive sentence of two 25-years-to-life terms is possible but, based on his experience, unlikely. He said judges seldom sentence separately for a conspiracy charge when there is also a conviction for the main crime.

“We think the boys should rot,” said Catherine Hosie, an aunt of the victim.

The trial started Oct. 6. It included five days of jury selection and 11 days of testimony.

The prosecution argued that Pardee attacked Jennifer after she refused three of his requests to kiss him. Prosecutors presented witnesses who said Pardee had choked her in a quarrel at Prime Outlets Mall two days before the slaying and told her, “You don’t know who you’re screwing with.”

Defense attorney Angelo Musitano argued in his summation that Kyle Cummings was the actual killer, but Wojtaszek argued that it did not matter who struck most of the blows.

Musitano, who left after the verdict without speaking with reporters, asserted that Kyle Cummings attacked Jennifer and “did it spontaneously without any knowledge or assistance from Daniel Pardee.”

Wojtaszek said Pardee had to be considered at least an accomplice. She said that all three defendants bore some responsibility for the Frontier Avenue girl’s death and that the jury was not required to determine the identity of the ringleader.

The prosector told the jury, “If all you believe is the defendant’s own statement and the physical and forensic evidence, . . . you, at the very least, should find him guilty of murder in the second degree under the depraved-indifference count.”

However, the jury ended up skipping past an alternative count of murder by reason of “depraved indifference to human life” because it convicted Pardee of intentional killing.

Wojtaszek read from Pardee’s Dec. 23 statement to police, in which he admitted helping drag Jennifer up the catwalk and acknowledged kicking her “hard enough to make her roll over.”

A bloodstain and Jennifer’s DNA were found on the cuff of Pardee’s coat.

After Kyle Cummings and Pardee were present for the first attack, they returned to the Cummings home on 72nd Street and asked Christopher what had happened. The brothers testified that Pardee cut his left thumb and theirs in a blood oath to keep the matter a secret before all three went back to the scene.

Blown-up photos of the three thumbs were posted on a bulletin board during Wojtaszek’s summation.

According to the Cummings’ account, Christopher Cummings cut the girl’s throat at Pardee’s direction and Pardee stabbed her repeatedly with a pair of scissors. They removed Jennifer’s coat, purse and ring.

The clothing was buried in the Cummings’ back yard along With the scissors and the steak knife Christopher used on the girl’s throat. The items were stuffed into a shopping bag, which police unearthed four days later. The ring was found in Pardee’s property when he was jailed on an unrelated charge Dec. 15.

The switchblade used in the first attack, which Kyle Cummings said he got from his mother, was thrown into a sewer at Edison Avenue and 70th Street, and police recovered it.

Convicted killer in murder of 16-year-old classmate soon to be released on parole

September 13, 2019

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A memorial still stands–almost 17 years later–at the overpass in Niagara Falls where the body of Jennifer Bolender was found in 2002. It’s there her picture keeps her frozen in time at 16-year-old.

“She had so many friends, she had so many dreams,” Tina Berry, Jennifer’s mother, said.

Bolender died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma in December of 2002. Three teenagers were sentenced in her murder: brothers Kyle and Christopher Cummings and Daniel Pardee. Kyle was sentenced to six years to life in prison, Christopher 10 years to life and Daniel 25 years to life.

“They’re monsters. They’re old enough to know what’s right and wrong and for such a brutal incident, they deserve more punishment,” Tina told 7 Eyewitness News in 2003. Now living in Florida, Tina still feels their sentences were too lenient.

“16 and a half years to me is just not enough,” Tina said. She continued, “He (Kyle) had a choice that night. He didn’t have to provide a weapon, he didn’t have to help move her body, he didn’t have to go back. He had choices to make and the choices he made weren’t the right ones.”

But now Kyle will soon be a free man. He is scheduled for release between now and October 10th. Tina says she won’t stop fighting for her daughter’s justice so no other family will have to experience the pain and loss she feels every day.

Mother of slain Falls teen speaks out against release of one of her killers

Niagra Gazette September 15, 2019

It’s been almost 17 years since the December night that Jennifer Bolender was slain in a crime so horrific that it left hardened Falls Police homicide detectives shaken by its brutality.

For Tina Berry, Jennifer’s mom, not a day passes that she doesn’t think of her daughter.

“Every night, when I go to bed, I think of her,” Berry said. “I still sleep with her pillow. I hug it every night.”

But pillows and teddy bears can’t bring back dead children. And Berry’s journey through the investigation of her daughter’s murder, the arrest of the three teenage suspects, their convictions for the murder and their prison sentences have taught her there is never an end to the pain and suffering.

“My life went upside down,” she said. “I was happily married and I got divorced. I got drunk a lot. My youngest daughter got into trouble. I had to leave the Falls.”

And now, what little solace she has found in a new home out-of-state, a new marriage and a re-started life, is being ripped away by a decision by the New York State Board of Parole to release one of Jennifer’s convicted killers.

At a hearing Aug. 28, the board decided that it would grant parole to Kyle Cummings. By no later than Oct. 10, Cummings will be released from the Cayuga Correctional Facility and allowed to move back to the Falls to live.

The decision prompted Berry to post an anguished plea on social media.

“ATTENTION!!! ATTENTION!!! KILLER (KYLE CUMMINGS) being released from prison back to Niagara Falls, NY with one of his sisters!!!,” Berry wrote. “PLEASE SHARE!! Protect your families!! This is not justice!!”

Cummings, along with his older brother Christopher and Daniel Pardee, were all convicted in connection with Jennifer’s murder. The Cummings brothers took plea deals from prosecutors, while Pardee was convicted after a jury trial noteworthy for its display of gruesome crime scene photos of the victim.

Niagara County Court Judge, then district attorney, Matthew J. Murphy III and current DA, then assistant district attorney, Caroline Wojtaszek, were the prosecutors on the case.

“It was my first homicide case,” Wojtaszek said. “It’s still the worst one. It’s the most horrific case that’s ever come across my desk.”

Bolender, Pardee and Kyle Cummings had had been hanging out a Niagara Falls Boulevard bowling alley on the night of Dec. 13, 2002. As they walked home, after an argument, Cummings said Pardee tried to kiss Bolender, but she resisted his advances.

Pardee responded by punching Bolender, knocking her to the ground by the entrance to the pedestrian walkway over the LaSalle Expressway. He and Cummings then repeatedly punched and stomped on Bolender as she begged for mercy.

Cummings, then 15 and Pardee, then 19, left Bolender, 16, for dead.

After going to Cummings’ home, they returned to the pedestrian bridge to “clean-up some evidence” and make the attack look like a robbery attempt gone bad. That’s when the teens discovered that Bolender was still alive.

With Christopher Cummings, then 14, the thee teens dragged Bolender more then 100 feet up the pedestrian bridge and, in the words of police investigators, “finished her off.”

Christopher Cummings took a large knife and slashed Bolender’s throat from ear to ear. Pardee then stabbed her 49 times according to an autopsy. 

“It was how young the perpetrators were,” Wojtaszek said. “It almost defies words … To see that brutality was outrageous.”

Wojtaszek said the case defined what kind of prosecutor she wanted to be. To this day, she keeps a picture of Bolender in her office and she has stayed in touch with Berry over the years.

Kyle Cummings eventually agreed to a deal plea that saw him plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and agree to testify against his brother and Pardee.

In return for the plea, Berry agreed to a reduced sentence for him.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon sentenced Kyle Cummings to six years to life in prison. With his upcoming release, he will have been incarcerated about 17 years.

“I’m not happy about it,” Berry said. “We agreed to six to life. That apparently doesn’t mean a damn thing in the state of New York. And now he can ask to be released from parole every three years.”

Wojtaszek agrees with Berry. She believes Kyle Cummings should still be behind bars.

“I don’t think 17 years is enough,” Wojtaszek said. “He had a lot to answer for.” Berry said Kyle Cummings was the only one of the killers to show even a hint of remorse for what he had done. But that was cold comfort.

“I don’t know how to react (to Kyle Cummings release). I’m having a hard time dealing with it,” Berry said. “The only one who had any compassion was Kyle. But not enough.”

Wojtaszek said police and prosecutors made Kyle Cummings revisit the scene of the crime to explain to them exactly what had happened to Jennifer.

“He was trembling and crying, it affected him,” the DA recalled. “Everything he said that happened in the murder matched what we had been able to put together.”

Now Berry worries it will only be a matter of time before Christopher Cummings and Pardee are also released from prison. Christopher Cummings, sentenced to a prison term of nine years to life, will be back in front of the parole board in 2020.

Wojtaszek said she’s trying to keep Christoper Cummings in prison, writing a latter to the board of parole opposing his release.

“I sat across from Christopher,” the DA said. “He was the coldest human being. He showed nothing. He was an empty vessel of a human being. There’s no reason to ever let him out.”

Even his sentencing judge, Sheldon, said Christopher Cummings should be “removed form society so that he is incapable of causing further harm.”

Pardee, sentenced to 40 years to life, will also have a date with the parole board in a few years.

“Pardee? No! Never, never,” Wojtaszek said on the subject of parole for the killer.

For Berry, the tears never stop. There is no end to the pain. There is no closure.

“Never. There’s no closure,” Berry said.

“Knowing they were all in prison make it a little better. Now that (Kyle Cummings) is out, it’s just re-opened everything. I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted.”

As Berry posted on social media,” Where is the justice my daughter is gone!!!”

Victim’s mother hopes for justice

Niagra Gazette June 12, 2020

Scrolling through her social media feed, Tina Berry could hardly believe her eyes.

The news she read left her almost speechless. 

“I had an instant of fear,” she said. “I was so sad for another young victim. It breaks my heart it came to that.”

But Berry says she warned anyone who would listen that releasing Kyle Cummings on parole in October was a mistake. She believed that allowing one of the three men convicted in the grisly 2002 murder of her daughter, Jennifer Bolender to be set free again in the Falls would only lead to trouble.

And she was right. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Falls police and Niagara County prosecutors charged Cummings with two counts of second-degree rape, and single counts of second and third-degree sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. 

Investigators said the “multiple incidents” involving Cummings and a juvenile victim began not long after his release from prison on parole. In addition to the criminal charges, Cummings has also been charged with a violation of the terms of his parole.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail.

“I have relief that he’s back where I wanted him to be, behind bars,” Berry said. “But he’s back behind bars at the cost of another child. I feel bad for her and her family.” 

Cummings, now 33, along with his older brother Christopher and Daniel Pardee, were all convicted in connection with Jennifer Bolender’s murder. The Cummings brothers took plea deals from prosecutors, while Pardee was convicted after a jury trial that was noteworthy for its display of gruesome crime scene photos of the victim.

Niagara County Court Judge, then district attorney, Matthew J. Murphy III and current DA, then assistant district attorney, Caroline Wojtaszek, were the prosecutors on the case.

“It was my first homicide case,” Wojtaszek said prior to Cummings release on parole. “It’s still the worst one. It’s the most horrific case that’s ever come across my desk.”

Bolender, Pardee and Kyle Cummings had been hanging out at a Niagara Falls Boulevard bowling alley on the night of Dec. 13, 2002. As they walked home, after an argument, Cummings said Pardee tried to kiss Bolender, but she resisted his advances.

Pardee responded by punching Bolender, knocking her to the ground by the entrance to the pedestrian walkway over the LaSalle Expressway. He and Cummings then repeatedly punched and stomped on Bolender as she begged for mercy.

Cummings, then 15 and Pardee, then 19, left Bolender, 16, for dead.

After going to Cummings’ home, they returned to the pedestrian bridge to “clean-up some evidence” and make the attack look like a robbery attempt gone bad. That’s when the teens discovered that Bolender was still alive.

With Christopher Cummings, then 14, the thee teens dragged Bolender more then 100 feet up the pedestrian bridge and, in the words of police investigators, “finished her off.”

Christopher Cummings took a large knife and slashed Bolender’s throat from ear to ear. Pardee then stabbed her 49 times according to an autopsy.

Kyle Cummings eventually agreed to a deal plea that saw him plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and agree to testify against his brother and Pardee. He was later sentenced by Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon to six years to life in prison. 

Berry said she hopes the new case against Cummings will send him back to prison with a lengthy sentnce.

“I don’t want this to just be about Jennifer,” Berry said. “I want (the new victim) and her family to be strong. I want them to get justice. We need a conviction to keep him (in prison).” 

New charge for man convicted in Bolender murder

Niagra Gazette June 10, 2020

PROSECUTORS: Kyle Cummings charged with rape, sexual assault and child endangerment.

One of three men involved in the grisly 2002 murder of Jennifer Bolender in Niagara Falls is now facing rape and sexual abuse charges in a new case. 

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek announced that 33-year-old Kyle Cummings has been charged with two counts of rape in the second degree, a class D felony, one count of sexual abuse in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count of sexual abuse in the third degree, a class B misdemeanor, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a class “a” misdemeanor. Wojtaszek said Cummings was arraigned on Wednesday in Niagara Falls City Court in front of Hon. Danielle M. Restaino. 

“I would like to thank detective Kathy Stack and detective Kenneth Redmond from the Niagara Falls Police Department for their prompt investigation into this matter.” Wojtaszek said. “They worked hand-in-hand with assistant district attorney Cheryl Grundy from our special victims unit to immediately address these troubling allegations.” 

Dominic Saraceno from the Niagara County public defender’s office appeared on his behalf. Bail was set at $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond, $50,000 partially secured, Wojtaszek said. 

Cummings remains in custody pending his next scheduled appearance on July 10 in Niagara Falls City Court.

Cummings was convicted, along with Christopher and Daniel Pardee, of murdering Bolender on the night of Dec. 13, 2002. 

In testimony tied to the case, Cummings said Pardee tried to kiss Bolender that night, but she resisted his advances. Pardee responded by punching Bolender, knocking her to the ground by the entrance to the pedestrian walkway over the LaSalle Expressway. He and Cummings then repeatedly punched and stomped on Bolender as she begged for mercy.

Cummings, then 15 and Pardee, then 19, left Bolender, 16, for dead.

After going to Cummings’ home, they returned to the pedestrian bridge to “clean-up some evidence” and make the attack look like a robbery attempt gone bad. That’s when the teens discovered that Bolender was still alive.

With Christopher Cummings, then 14, the teens dragged Bolender more than 100 feet up the pedestrian bridge and, in the words of police investigators, “finished her off.”

Christopher Cummings took a large knife and slashed Bolender’s throat from ear to ear. Pardee then stabbed her 49 times according to an autopsy.

Kyle Cummings eventually agreed to a deal plea that saw him plead guilty to a charge of second-degree murder and agree to testify against his brother and Pardee. He was later sentenced by Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon to six years to life in prison. The state parole board agreed to his early release last year. 

Convicted killer, on parole in Niagara County, now charged with rape of minor

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Niagara Falls man, released from prison on parole in Fall 2019, has been charged with two counts of second-degree rape, sexual abuse in the second degree, sexual abuse in the third degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Kyle Cummings, 33, was paroled after serving 16 years in prison for his role in the murder of a classmate, 16-year-old Jennifer Bolender, in 2002. Cummings’ original sentence six years to life in prison.

The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office says on Wednesday, Cummings was arraigned in Niagara Falls City Court, represented by a public defender. A judge set his bail at $25,000 cash.

According to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office app, where the public can access mugshots and charges of inmates currently in custody, the victim in Cummings’ case is under 15 years old.

Cummings will appear in court next on July 10.

First of three convicted killers in 2002 Niagara Falls murder to be released from prison