A Pennsylvania man who tortured and fatally beat his mother before taking hundreds of photographs with her body has been reportedly sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
David Sumney, 33, was sentenced in the Allegheny County Courthouse on Thursday in the 2019 killing of his 67-year-old mother, Margaret Sumney, according to a Daily Beast report. The sentence follows a plea Sumney hit the prosecutor’s office in September, according to CBS News. He eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree murder.
September 2, 2019 was Margaret Sumney found dead in the bathroom of her South Lafayette home after her family requested a welfare check, CBS News reported. She suffered broken ribs, a spinal fracture, cuts on her face, and bruises all over her body. An autopsy report concluded that Margaret Sumney died of blunt force trauma and her death was ruled a homicide.
After questioning David Sumney and searching his phone, investigators found several disturbing images related to the murder investigation on his mobile device. He was later charged with murder.
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Sumney was also found in possession of his mother’s jewelry and three blank checks belonging to the murdered woman, according to the case’s complaint. Authorities said he was also staying with his mother at the time of the incident.
Investigators later revealed that Sumney took 277 photos from the crime scene, some of which documented his mother’s murder and the grisly aftermath. The then 30-year-old son, prosecutors say, took blood-stained selfies with his mother’s body, including at least one picture in which he gave the camera a thumbs-up.
“Among many of the photos of the victim appear selfies of the defendant showing his face covered in blood and one showing a thumbs up,” prosecutors said said in 2019, according to a TribLive report at the time.
At the trial, a doctor testified that at the time of his mother’s murder, Sumney had decreased mental functioning due to taking “extremely high doses” of Adderall, according to the Daily Beast.
In court last week, Margaret’s loved ones described David Sumney as “less than a piece of trash”.
Photo: Allegheny County Police Department
“You broke her back,” said his half-sister Ellen Sumney, The Daily Beast reported. “You paralyzed our mother. And then you just hit them and hit them. The blood was splattered on the walls. But I think the craziest thing is the pictures. The 277 images. You only take photos if you want to go back and see what you did.”
Another of Margaret Sumney’s relatives shared how she could never forget the “metallic smell” that hit her when she stumbled upon the crime scene more than three years ago.
“He’s the epitome of pure evil,” said David Sumney’s cousin Margo, Fox affiliate WFIN reported. “We will never find peace with that.”
Margaret Sumney’s family, who have long called for a life sentence for the murder of the 67-year-old woman, have widely opposed prosecutors’ settlement with Sumney.
Sumney would have faced life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if charged with first-degree murder.
“Only one family member is in favor of the plea,” Ellen told CBS News in September. “Everyone else is against it. And we want David tried before a jury and convicted of first-degree murder.”
Instead, Sumney could be released after just 17 years as he served three years in prison awaiting trial. He had previously been arrested for assaulting his mother and father, who has since died, on at least two occasions.
“For someone who seemed to enjoy killing someone with a violent history, they should never be in society again,” Ellen told CBS News.
Family members described Margaret Sumney as a “beloved mother, proud grandmother, caring sister and treasured aunt”. An obituary 2019 specified She was a dance teacher and co-owner of a now-defunct family dance studio in Pittsburgh.
In court, Sumney apologized to his mother’s family.
“I can’t believe I would put myself in such a state where I could do something so bad, so horrible,” Sumney told the court Thursday, according to the Daily Beast. “I can’t believe what I did, I killed my own mother. I can’t stop thinking about it. I think about it every day. I’m sorry but sorry is not enough. I handled things as badly as a human could have.”
He added: “To my family, my sisters and my aunts, I know that I am impossible to forgive. I don’t forgive myself. I just want to let her know that I’m really sorry.”
Sumney’s legal team had previously petitioned the court for a reduced sentence of seven years in prison, insisting his client was genuinely repentant for his actions.
Sumney is also accused of choking and waterboarding a former girlfriend in an Atlantic City hotel room in July 2019, Fox News reports reported. The case is pending.
Oxygen. com has reached out to Sumney Defense Attorney Chris Patterini at the Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office for further comment.