In August 2019, David Sumney was charged with the gruesome murder of his own mother and then taking selfies with the body. Last week, the Allegheny County Court sentenced him to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.
In a special hearing, Sumney’s half-sister and his late mother’s older sister appeared before Common Pleas Justice Edward Borkowski. They asked the judge to vacate the third-degree murder deal that had been offered to Sumney in August. The plea deal would ensure David Sumney could be released in 17 years.
In 2019, David Sumney fatally beat his 67-year-old mother, Margaret, to death at their South Lafayette home. Margaret’s body was found with broken ribs, a spinal fracture, bruises to her body and lacerations to her face.
Sumney had documented the horrific murder by taking some 277 photos of the crime, including gory selfies with the body.
According to the Daily Beast, Sumney, 33, has been behind bars since 2019 and the plea deal he struck in August reduced his first-degree murder charge to a single third-degree murder.
During last week’s special hearing, Sumney apologized for the heinous crime to the judge and to his family members, who joined via Zoom. He said:
“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’ve treated things as badly as any person could have.”
David Sumney’s family condemned the court’s decision, calling it shocking
Years after David Sumney was arrested for the gruesome murder of his mother, he struck a plea deal in August that reduced his charges to a single count of third-degree murder.
In a special hearing last week, his surviving family members asked the court not to reduce his charge of first-degree murder, which would ensure a life sentence.
According to the Daily Beast, Sumney’s half-sister Ellen approached him in court, saying:
“You broke her back. You paralyzed our mother. And then you just hit her and hit her. 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. David, she gave you everything she had and when she had nothing else to give you killed her. I had no idea you were such a monster. And I’m still upset that you weren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent. This was first degree murder.
Sumney’s mother’s older sister, Mary Ellen, said she wished he had received the death penalty for his actions. Another sister, Ann Shade, asked the court not to give her nephew a “second chance.” Recalling the horrific crime scene, David Sumney’s cousin Margo said:
“He is the epitome of pure evil. We will never find peace with that.”
However, the judge ruled against the family and sentenced him to 20 years in prison, citing “resentment and discord” in the case.
Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal because Sumney had a history of mental illness and alcoholism, according to CBS News. Also, he had no apparent motive for killing his mother, which would have made a first-degree conviction less likely.
Aside from inmates agreeing that David Sumney was a model prisoner, a doctor also stated that Sumney had decreased mental functioning due to “extremely high doses” of Adderall when he killed his mother in 2019.
The court’s decision left the family shocked, as they are still reeling from the horrific murder of Margaret. The late woman’s daughter said:
“I think in this Pennsylvania courtroom, it’s okay to steal all of someone’s money, torture them for days, beat them to death, and whittle it down to third-degree murder.”
David Sumney is also facing another criminal case in Atlantic City for molesting his ex-girlfriend in 2019.