David Sumney Murdered His Mom and Got a Plea Deal, and Her Family Is Furious

todaySeptember 19, 2022

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It was a sizzling summer season Sunday morning, and Ellen was busy making calls to members of the family about her uncle’s loss of life.

At round 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 1, 2019, after trying to achieve her mom a number of occasions to ship the information, she determined to tear the band-aid and inform her 33-year-old half-brother, David Sumney. To her shock, Sumney stated he was at their mom Margaret’s home in South Fayette, Pennsylvania—regardless that he had moved to a different city and had been accused of assaulting the petite 67-year-old matriarch quite a few occasions.

“My first thought was, ‘Effectively that’s unusual,’” Ellen, who requested to solely be recognized by her first identify out of concern for her youngsters, advised The Each day Beast. “So I stated, ‘Can you set her on the telephone?’ And he stated she is asleep. And I didn’t give it some thought an excessive amount of then, however then I referred to as a few hours later—nonetheless asleep. After which a few hours after that—nonetheless asleep, nonetheless asleep.”

“It bought to a degree the place I referred to as him and I stated, ‘If she continues to be asleep, perhaps she must go to the hospital, perhaps one thing is incorrect along with her.’ No person might presumably sleep this lengthy, proper?”

Later, Ellen would study that her 6-foot-4 half-brother had already murdered their mom and shoved her physique inside a tub on the time of their conversations. Sumney even documented the horrific scene, taking 277 images that included his mom’s swollen face, unconscious physique, and a number of other selfies with blood on his personal face. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Workplace concluded that Margaret had lacerations on her face and contusions on her physique. She had a number of fractured ribs and a spinal fracture that will have paralyzed her from the waist down.

“To take 277 images of murdering her, he needed to get pleasure from it,” Ellen stated. “He even took a photograph along with her blood smeared on his face giving a thumbs up. Perhaps they have been a trophy for him.”

Sumney was arrested a couple of days later exterior of his uncle’s funeral, the place police found him with a diamond gold necklace, a silver bracelet, three clean checks in his mom’s identify, and her debit card. Finally, authorities charged Sumney with a number of crimes, together with first-degree homicide, abuse of a corpse, theft, and theft.

However simply three months after Sumney’s arrest, the Allegheny County District Lawyer’s Workplace floated the thought of a plea deal—which Ellen stated her household instantly rejected. Three years and one pandemic later, Ellen stated their fears that her brother was dodging a full-scale prosecution got here true when Sumney pleaded responsible to third-degree homicide in connection along with his mom’s loss of life final month.

Sumney’s Aug. 17, 2022, plea in entrance of Allegheny County Widespread Pleas Courtroom Choose Edward Borkowski meant that each one the opposite costs in opposition to him have been dropped, and he now faces a most sentence of 40 years behind bars.

Margaret Sumney and David Sumney.

Ann Shade

Throughout the listening to, in accordance with the Publish Gazette, Assistant District Lawyer Michael Pradines stated that just one member of the family was “in vocal disagreement” with the plea and burdened that the remainder of Margaret’s household noticed the third-degree homicide settlement as the tip of a “three-year nightmare.” In actuality, Ellen stated, just one member of the family gave the district legal professional consent to the settlement. Margaret’s sister, Ann Shade, advised The Each day Beast that through the listening to, she herself audibly stated “no” as Pradines claimed household help, going as far as to shake her head violently.

The plea settlement, in accordance with a number of members of the family who spoke to The Each day Beast, has served solely to resume their worry of retaliation if and when Sumney is launched from jail. But it surely additionally enraged his ex-girlfriend, who’s on the middle of a separate felony case in Atlantic Metropolis, the place Sumney is accused of waterboarding and strangling her in a resort room earlier than she was in a position to escape.

The incident got here simply six weeks earlier than Margaret’s homicide.

“He’s continuously slipping via the cracks of the judicial system,” Sumney’s ex-girlfriend, who spoke underneath the situation of anonymity, advised The Each day Beast. “I’ve little doubt that if he’s about to enter society once more, he’ll attempt to kill another person.”

Neither the Allegheny County District Lawyer’s Workplace nor Sumney’s attorneys responded to requests for remark. The member of the family who different family members stated backed the plea deal additionally didn’t reply to remark.

Now, Sumney’s household says their final probability for justice—and to ease their fears they could be his subsequent victims—is that Choose Borowski throws out the plea settlement forward of the 33-year-old’s Nov. 17 sentencing listening to.

“All we wish is a good trial. We simply need David to pay for what he has finished,” Shade, Sumney’s aunt, advised The Each day Beast. “My household simply needs to really feel protected.”

The primary time Ellen knew one thing was incorrect along with her brother was when he was 5 years outdated.

Though she is 15 years older than Sumney, she did spend a couple of years residing in the identical home earlier than she headed off to school—and would see him throughout her summer season holidays. Throughout a kind of breaks, Ellen stated, she was upstairs in her room when her mom began “screaming on the prime of her lungs.”

“David had a buddy over and in some way—they usually have been simply 5 years outdated—they only killed a chicken,” Ellen stated. “And my mother was screaming, ‘That is what serial murderers do.’ Like screaming whereas I used to be making an attempt to wrap my head round how he might kill a child chicken.”

The 48-year-old stated she has since realized that Sumney’s childhood provided premonitions concerning the violence he was later accused of inflicting on his dad and mom and others.

Courtroom paperwork and arrest information obtained by The Each day Beast present that Sumney’s first run-in with the regulation was in April 2011, when he was arrested for driving underneath the affect in Arlington, Virginia. Three years later, in June 2014, Sumney was arrested for harassment. Two months after that, he was charged with assaulting his mom.

In June 2015, Sumney was charged with aggravated assault, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and harassment for allegedly beating up his 71-year-old father, David Lee Sumney Sr. In keeping with a 2015 article within the Observer-Reporter, Sumney Sr. advised police the altercation started when the 2 started to argue over a trip schedule. Instantly, he advised police, Sumney pinned him in opposition to his entrance door and began hitting him.

A yr later, in November 2016, Sumney was once more charged with assaulting his mom. In a felony grievance obtained by The Each day Beast, Margaret Sumney advised authorities her son “violently assaulted her” after consuming “quite a lot of alcohol.” Sumney’s mom stated that he “kicked her and grabbed her by the neck space,” the grievance states, noting that he additionally “picked her up across the chest space and squeezed her, inflicting extreme ache under her breast space ‘whereas he said that is how we do it within the Navy Seals.’” (A Navy spokesperson stated there was no document of Sumney of their system.)

In a handwritten request for momentary safety from abuse order, the mom stated Sumney punched her within the face and physique and choked her. Throughout the violent assault, Sumney then allegedly stated, “I’ll get you subsequent time” earlier than his mom was in a position to run to a neighbor’s home to name authorities.

Sumney was by no means convicted of a felony. In varied circumstances, the fees in opposition to him have been both downgraded or he pleaded to misdemeanors. (A number of the related courtroom paperwork about Sumney’s varied costs stay underneath seal.) Finally, Sumney by no means acquired greater than eight months in confinement and probation.

Ann Shade, Margaret’s sister, stated that one cause that Sumney would get away with violent crimes was his mom’s final pleas for leniency. “It was nearly as if she was a battered spouse,” Shade stated. “With all of the occasions he ended up in courtroom, he ought to have already been in jail for some time.”

However at one level, after numerous situations of alleged abuse, Shade stated, her sister—Sumney’s mom—determined to purchase a gun to guard herself.

“My brother stated, ‘Don’t try this, you’ll kill your self,” Shade stated concerning the gun. “However [Margaret] was afraid about what he would do.”

Unbeknownst to his mom’s household, Sumney escaping main authorized repercussions might have offered him the chance to unleash his violent habits on outsiders.

In August 2018, Sumney met his ex-girlfriend on-line. She advised The Each day Beast that she by no means “had any inclination that something was off about him,” and attributed his sometimes-cold or closed-off demeanor to his supposed Navy SEAL coaching.

“I really met his mother and he or she additionally advised me that he was a SEAL,” the ex-girlfriend stated. “He should have learn the e-book on be a Navy SEAL. He simply had this demeanor, like he might overcome something. He additionally confirmed me these images of what appeared like him within the desert. I now know that wasn’t him.”

After being on and off for a number of months, the ex-girlfriend stated the choice to take a five-day seashore trip to Atlantic Metropolis in July 2019 was “partly to see if this was going to work.” But it surely didn’t take lengthy for the journey to show ugly, she stated.

“The primary time he bodily hit me was within the resort room,” the ex-girlfriend stated. “I used to be like, holy shit, and my thoughts simply went into survival mode, simply determining methods to maintain the scenario calm to keep away from getting damage once more. Simply preserve all the pieces cool, calm, and picked up.”

Days later, she stated, Sumney turned irate once more—and began torturing her of their resort room. Sumney choked her till she handed out, punched her within the face, and ultimately waterboarded her within the toilet, she stated.

“He simply stored saying issues like, ‘How would you like your physique to be discovered? Within the toilet from an overdose or would you want to your physique to simply disappear?’” the ex-girlfriend stated. Finally, a bellhop knocked on their resort room after they failed the take a look at of their room on July 16, 2019—offering her with a possibility to flee.

Fearing for her life, she stated, she bumped into a close-by room and slammed the door shut earlier than she began to scream, “He’s gonna kill me, he’s gonna kill me.”

Whereas native authorities have been instantly referred to as and an arrest warrant was obtained for Sumney, the 32-year-old was in a position to evade authorities. One important cause, the ex-girlfriend and Sumney’s household stated, was that he was not entered into the Nationwide Crime Data Heart. Merely put, as soon as Sumney left New Jersey, authorities in different states had no concept he was a wished man.

The Atlantic Metropolis Police Division didn’t reply to a request for remark. However Sumney was charged in 2020 with a number of crimes in reference to the episode—together with aggravated assault, terroristic threats for threatening fast loss of life, and felony restraint—for the alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend. Sumney has but to enter a plea on these costs, and it was not clear if he had an legal professional on the case.

Sumney’s household stated police allowed him to fly from New Jersey to Denver earlier than ultimately returning to Pennsylvania. Weeks later, on August 24, Sumney was given a quotation simply exterior of Pittsburgh after allegedly punching a Lyft driver when he bought misplaced on their trip.

“There have been so many situations for David to be stopped in 2019 alone. And but he was in a position to slip via the cracks—once more,” Ellen stated. “He’s a Ted Bundy-type, you already know. He’s manipulative and charismatic and is ready to manipulate individuals. He’s additionally a sociopath who’s able to homicide.”

Lower than per week after allegedly attacking the Lyft driver, prosecutors say, Sumney brutally attacked his mom. In a 2019 felony grievance, authorities described the grisly scene he left behind at her home.

The grievance states that police entered the house on Sept. 2 after family members referred to as authorities a number of occasions to test on Margaret. Throughout one name, a relative said that Sumney was “altered” and that he claimed their mom “has been sleeping for 2 days.”

Officers discovered the Olde Orchard Drive residence soaked in blood with obvious indicators of a wrestle—and Margaret within the upstairs bathtub. Within the downstairs lobby, police discovered three trash luggage with a number of gloves, a virtually empty bottle of “Large Eagle Clear Promise” ammonia, a bottle of bleach, a roll of masking tape, and a number of other towels with blood stains. In the lounge, splatter was discovered on the ceiling above the blood-stained white couch that was coated with a pink bathrobe, a seashore towel, and pillows, the grievance states.

Margaret Sumney and David Sumney.

Ann Shade

“Upon shifting the ottoman away from the couch, a number of areas of pink/brown staining, each drops and smears, have been noticed,” the grievance states, noting that cup was everywhere in the ground. The grievance additionally notes that there seemed to be feces on the ground.

Ellen stated that authorities later defined to her that Sumney should have needed to break their mom’s total again to place her physique the way in which it was discovered within the bathtub. She added that when she referred to as Sumney on Sept. 2 after studying the information about their mom’s loss of life, he merely responded: “I don’t need to provide the incorrect reply.”

“I stated there’s not a proper or incorrect reply, and he stated ‘Ellen, I don’t need to offer you a incorrect reply,’” she added.

When authorities arrested Sumney, they discovered that he had checked into a neighborhood resort after the homicide and paid for 3 nights. The grievance states that the resort supervisor advised police that on Sumney’s second day, he “stopped her within the foyer and gave her a set of pearls” earlier than saying, “from a particular girl to a particular girl.”

Contained in the resort room, investigators discovered a slew of Margaret’s belongings—together with the revolver she had bought to guard herself in opposition to her son. Investigators then went via his cellphone, the place they found a whole lot of images he had taken of the aftermath of his crime.

Prosecutors additionally revealed in a courtroom listening to that Sumney appeared up a number of questions on deal with his mother’s physique, together with, “How lengthy does it take earlier than a physique begins to decompose?” and “How lengthy do you wait to get rid of a physique?”

“Figuring out he took images of her makes my pores and skin crawl,” Shade advised The Each day Beast.

For many family members, the main points of the case ought to have been sufficient to ensure Sumney stayed in jail for the remainder of his life. As a substitute, Ellen and Shade have been shocked to see an e mail from Assistant District Lawyer Michael Pradines at 3:56 p.m. on Aug. 11 informing them a plea settlement had been reached with Sumney’s attorneys.

“This has been an extended and exhausting highway,” Pradines wrote within the e mail, which was reviewed by The Each day Beast. “You and your loved ones are all the time in my ideas.” About 20 minutes later, Ellen responded to precise her anger over the plea deal, stressing that “this isn’t justice for my mother or maintaining Pennsylvania protected.”

“As soon as once more, David gained within the Pennsylvania felony justice system,” Ellen wrote in her response. “I worry for my household & David’s subsequent victims when he’s out. This additionally speaks loudly that Pennsylvania doesn’t take home violence critically.”

Three days later, Pradines despatched a response e mail—not responding to Ellen’s issues and easily stating that Sumney will “enter a plea of responsible” on Aug. 17 earlier than apologizing “concerning the late discover.”

“The plea listening to proved what Ellen had written in her e mail,” her aunt, Ann Shade, stated to The Each day Beast. “They neglected the details of the case and allowed him to plead responsible to a lesser crime. Our solely hope is that the decide sees him for the way harmful he’s and overturns it earlier than it’s too late.”

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