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David Sumney: Man who beat mom to death and took selfies with her corpse gets 20 years in prison

Despite the possibility of a harsher sentence, Sumney could be paroled after just 17 years, which has angered his family
David Sumney was sentenced to 20 years for the brutal slaying of his mom Margaret Sumney
(@Allegheny County PD and Margaret Sumney/Facebook)
David Sumney was sentenced to 20 years for the brutal slaying of his mom Margaret Sumney (@Allegheny County PD and Margaret Sumney/Facebook)

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: A Pennsylvania man who brutally murdered his mother and took photos of her body received a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. This was because of a controversial plea deal opposed by virtually all family members. David Sumney, 33, was found guilty of third-degree murder in connection with the gruesome death of his mother Margaret, 67, in 2019. Sumney, who has been behind bars since 2019, could be released after just 17 years.

According to a court indictment against Sumney, he tortured and murdered his mother before disposing of her body in a bathroom sometime before September 1 of that year. Sumney also documented the entire horrific scenario, snapping 277 pictures, including several selfies with blood on his face and his mother's body, reports Daily Beast.


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Sumney was able to negotiate a plea agreement in August that exonerated him of some of the most horrific charges, including first-degree murder and mistreatment of a corpse. “I cannot believe I would let myself get in such a state where I could do something so bad, so horrible. I cannot believe what I did, that I killed my own mother,” Sumney told the judge at the hearing on Thursday, November 17, on the fifth floor of Allegheny County County Court, while his hands were tied in front of him by a prisoner belt. “I cannot stop thinking about it. I think about it every day. I’m sorry, but sorry doesn’t cut it. I handled things as badly as a person could have.” “To my family, to my sisters, and my aunts, I know it’s impossible to forgive me. I don’t forgive myself. I just want to let them know I am truly sorry,” he added.

Both the prosecutor and Sumney's attorneys testified in court to support their respective cases for harsher (though not nearly as harsh as the family had requested) and more moderate punishments. Several members of Margaret's family, including two of her sisters and her niece Margo, were called as witnesses by the prosecution. Mary Ellen, Margaret's older sister, glared at Sumney while calling him "less than a piece of trash" and expressing her desire for the death penalty. His other sister Ann Shade pleaded with the judge "to not give him a second chance." Sumney would have spent the rest of his life in prison if he had been found guilty on the initial charges.

Margo, Sumney's cousin, remembered being one of the first visitors to her aunt's blood-stained house in 2019 and how she will never forget the "metallic smell" she encountered there. “He is the epitome of pure evil,” she said in court. “We will never find peace with any of this.”

Chris Patterini, Sumney's defense lawyer, stated on Thursday that his client had "expressed remorse" and claimed that drugs and alcohol were to blame for his acts before requesting a seven-year prison sentence. Prosecutors demanded a sentence of at least 15 years. 

During the hearing, Ellen, David's half-sister, said of the defense's assertions regarding Sumney, "That's ridiculous." Since her requests about the case have been continuously disregarded, Ellen claimed, she made the decision not to attend Sumney's sentencing in person. Instead, she spoke to the court through Zoom to voice her distress over the graphic circumstances of their mom's death. “You broke her back. You paralyzed our mother. And then you just beat her and beat her. The blood was splattered along the walls,” Ellen said. “But I think the sickest part is the pictures. The 277 pictures. You only take pictures if you want to go back and see what you did.”