A University of Wisconsin-Madison student was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly beating his own mother to death with a baseball bat.
Thomas J. Summerwill, 21, was arrested Monday, after the state’s attorney’s office filed criminal charges for the murder of his mother, Mary B. Summerwill, which took place on March 24 in the family’s home in Campton Hills, Illinois.
Mary Summerwill, 53, died shortly following the incident from several blunt force trauma injuries on her skull.
Defense attorney Liam Dixon explained that the murder was an accident, according to Thomas J. Summerwill.
“The allegations are that he was essentially startled awake, believing there was an intruder in his room,” Dixon said.
Prosecutors believe that alcohol may have played a role in the incident, impairing Thomas J. Summerwill and his ability to reasonably asses the threat level of an intruder situation.
“If they allege alcohol played a role, I don’t know that that changes his reasoning,” Dixon rebutted.
Thomas J. Summerwill of Campton Hills is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the death of 53-year-old Mary Summerwill.https://t.co/uoghhPlN3L
— TribLIVE.com (@TribLIVE) May 15, 2019
Dixon also noted that the college student had just returned from a spring break trip to Europe prior to the murder and that jet lag may have played a role in his misjudgment. (RELATED: Mother, Daughter Slay 5 In Family Murder-Suicide Pact, Claiming Everyone ‘Wanted To Die’)
Dixon confirmed that Thomas J. Summerwill has the full support of his family as he faces the justice system, and that the incident was “a freak accident and a tragic, horrible story all the way around”.
“Whatever the state does to him will pale in comparison to what’s already happened,” Dixon stated.
Dixon said the mother and son “had an excellent relationship.”
“I wouldn’t even call it a typical relationship, I would say it’s very loving. She adored him,” he added.
Thomas J. Summerwill’s second-degree murder charges could produce up to a 20 year prison sentence for the college junior. Tuesday, he was released on a $30,000 bond and is set to return to court on May 23.
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