Pennsylvania man sentenced to 20 years in plea deal after murdering mother, taking pictures with corpse

A Pennsylvania man who murdered his mother and took photographs with her body was sentenced to 20 years in prison after receiving a plea deal much of the family opposed.

David Sumney, 33, was accused of torturing his mother Margaret, 67, and murdering her in her home in 2019.

He had documented the crime by taking 277 photos, including several selfies of blood smeared on his face and his mother’s body.

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Sumney secured a plea deal in August that dismissed charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, leaving him with only a single count of third-degree murder.

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Since he has been behind bars since 2019, he could be released in as little as 17 years.

“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, said during his hearing on Thursday in Allegheny County Court. “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 continued.

Sumney’s defense asked for a sentence of seven years because he “expressed remorse” and attributed his crime to his drug and alcohol use.

Margaret’s family, meanwhile, pushed for a harsher sentence than he ultimately received. 

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Her older sister, Mary Ellen, called Sumney “less than a piece of trash” and said she wished he “receive the death penalty.” Margaret’s other sister, Ann Shade, urged the court “to not give him a second chance.”

Sumney would have faced life behind bars if he was sentenced for his initial charges.

His cousin, Margo, explained she will never forget the “metallic smell” when she entered the blood-soaked home in 2019.

“He is the epitome of pure evil,” she said. “We will never find peace with any of this.”

The defense called two Allegheny jail employees to the stand, one of whom described Sumney as a model prisoner who engage in Bible studies with other inmates. Also called to the stand was a doctor who argued that Sumney had diminished mental capacity at the time of the murder because of “extremely high doses” of Adderall.

After the murder, Sumney had reportedly searched online for how to dispose of his mother’s body. Among his searches were, “how long does it take before a body starts to decompose?” and “how long do you wait to dispose of a body?”

The judge sentenced Sumney to a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of 40 years.

“You broke her back,” Ellen told the court. “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.”

Sumney also faces another criminal case in Atlantic City, where his ex-girlfriend accuses him of waterboarding and strangling her in a hotel room in July 2019.

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