NASHVILLE - A federal judge in Nashville has set a trial date for Tad Cummins, a former Columbia teacher charged with fleeing Tennessee with his 15-year-old student.
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger, in a Tuesday order, set Cummins' trial for July 25. She also set a July 21 deadline for Cummins to take a plea deal if he wants to avoid trial.
It's very rare for a defendant to go to trial so quickly after an arrest, especially in such a complex case. In the Middle District of Tennessee, federal court statistics show the average length of a felony case is nearly 20 months.
Cummins was arrested in April. And the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's probe of the case remains ongoing.
Authorities say Cummins, 50, manipulated his former student and spent 38 days on the run with her. An Amber Alert was issued, drawing national attention to the case before a citizen's tip led law enforcement agents to Cummins and the girl in California.