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A Pennsylvania man who tortured and fatally beat his mother before snapping hundreds of photos with her corpse, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years behind bars, according to reports.
David Sumney, 33, was sentenced in Allegheny County court on Thursday in the 2019 slaying of his 67-year-old mother, Margaret Sumney, per a Daily Beast report. The sentence follows a plea deal Sumney struck with prosecutors in September, according to CBS News. He ultimately pleaded guilty to third-degree murder.
On Sept. 2, 2019, Margaret Sumney was found dead in the bathroom of her South Lafayette home after her family requested a welfare check, CBS News reported. She suffered fractured ribs, a spinal fracture, cuts on her face and contusions across her body. An autopsy report concluded that Margaret Sumney died from blunt force trauma and her death was ruled a homicide.
After interviewing David Sumney and searching his phone, investigators found several disturbing pictures pertaining to the murder investigation on his mobile device. He was later charged with murder.
Sumney was also found in possession of his mother’s jewelry and three blank checks belonging to the slain woman, per the case’s complaint. Authorities said he’d also been staying with his mother around the time of the incident.
Investigators later revealed that Sumney had taken 277 photos of the crime scene, some of which documented his mother’s slaying, and the grisly aftermath. The then-30-year-old son, prosecutors said, took blood-stained selfies with his mother’s dead body, including at least one image in which he gives the camera a thumbs up.
"In between many of the photos of the victim appear selfies of the defendant in which he is seen with blood smeared on his face, and in one photo giving a thumbs up pose," prosecutors said in 2019, according to a TribLive report from the time.
At trial, a doctor testified that Sumney had a reduced mental capacity at the time of his mother's killing 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.”
“You broke her back,” his half-sister Ellen Sumney said, The Daily Beast reported. “You paralyzed our mother. And then you just beat her and beat her. The blood was splattered along the walls. 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.”
Another relative of Margaret Sumney recounted how she could never forget the "metallic smell" that overcame her when she stumbled upon the crime scene more than three years ago.
"He is the epitome of pure evil," David Sumney’s cousin, Margo, also said, Fox affiliate WFIN reported. "We will never find peace with any of this."
Margaret Sumney’s family, who have long-called for a life sentence in the 67-year-old woman’s killing, have largely opposed the plea deal prosecutors struck with Sumney.
Sumney would have faced life imprisonment without the possibility of parole had he been tried on first-degree murder charges.
"Only one family member is for the plea,” Ellen told CBS News in September. “Everyone else is against it. And we want David to go to trial with a jury and be convicted of first-degree murder."
Instead, Sumney could be released in as soon as 17 years due to serving three years in jail awaiting trial. He was previously arrested for attacking his mother on at least two separate occasions, as well as his now-dead father.
"For someone that, it appears, that they enjoyed killing someone, with a violent history, he should never be out in society again," Ellen told CBS News.
Family members described Margaret Sumney as a “beloved mother, proud grandmother, caring sister, and cherished aunt.” A 2019 obituary stated she was a dance instructor and co-owner of a now-closed family dance studio in Pittsburgh.
In court, Sumney offered an apology to his mother’s family.
“I cannot believe I would let myself get in such a state where I could do something so bad, so horrible,” Sumney told the court on Thursday, according to the Daily Beast. “I cannot believe what I did, that I killed my own mother. 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.”
He added: “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.”
Sumney’s legal team had previously requested the court hand down a lesser sentence of seven years in prison, insisting his client was truly remorseful for his actions.
Sumney is also accused of choking and waterboarding a former girlfriend inside an Atlantic City hotel room in July 2019, Fox News reported. The case is pending.
Oxygen.com has reached out to Sumney’s defense attorney, Chris Patterini, at the Allegheny County Public Defender's Office for further comment.
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