Son beats mother to death with baseball bat thinking she was an intruder after she walked into his room when he was 'drunk and jet-lagged'
Kane County prosecutors filed second-degree murder charges this week against the 21-year-old Thomas J. Summerwill from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
A college student, who was home on spring break, beat his mother to death with a baseball bat in the middle of the night after he thought she was an intruder and believed that he was acting in self-defense. Kane County prosecutors filed second-degree murder charges this week against 21-year-old Thomas J. Summerwill from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The student surrendered to authorities on Monday, May 13, after the state's attorney's office filed criminal charges for his mother, Mary B. Summerwill's death.
Speaking of the incident that occurred early in the morning on March 24 in the family home in Campton Hills, defense attorney Liam Dixon told the Chicago Tribune: "The allegations are that he was essentially startled awake, believing there was an intruder in his room."
Kane County state’s attorney’s officials said in a news release that Thomas believed he was acting in self-defense when he hit his mother multiple times in the head with his bat not realizing that it was her. Prosecutors, however, have alleged that the student's belief was not reasonable because he was under the influence of alcohol at the time. Dixon said: "If they allege alcohol played a role, I don’t know if that changes his reasoning."
Thomas' father was at the family home located on the 40W block of Willowbrook Lane. He and his son called 911 only later that morning. The student had hit his mother with a souvenir baseball bat that had been mounted above his bed, Dixon said. He also said that Thomas had the full support of his family members and that the incident was a "horrible accident".
Dixon said: "It was a freak accident and a tragic, horrible story all the way around." Thomas had been home for spring break after he returned from a trip to Ireland and other parts of Europe. Dixon then said that his client could have had jet lag.
When asked about why his office had charged Thomas with second-degree murder, Joe McMahon said that it was because the evidence supported the charge. He said: "The facts of the case will come out in court and we’ll present our case, but he's charged with second-degree murder. We believe that is the appropriate charge."
The 53-year-old mother died shortly after the horrific incident at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva. Coroner Rob Russell said that she died of cranial injuries that were consistent with being hit on the head with a baseball bat.
Thomas posted a $30,000 bond on Tuesday, May 14, and is due to appear in court again on May 23. If convicted, he faces a punishment that ranges from probation to up to 20 years behind bars.