Man Who Murdered His Mother And Took Pictures With Her Body Gets 20 Years In Prison

John Sumney

The Pennsylvania man who killed his mother and took photographs with her body was sentenced to 20 years in prison after receiving a plea deal widely opposed by the family.

His mother Margaret, 67, was allegedly tortured and murdered in her home by David Sumney, 33.

In addition to taking 277 photos, he also took several selfies of his face and his mother’s body covered in blood.

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

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

At his hearing on Thursday in Allegheny County Court, Sumney said, “I cannot believe I would allow myself to get into such a state where I could do something so horrible, so bad. I cannot believe what I did. I could not stop thinking about it. I think about it every day. I’m sorry, but sorry does not cut it. I handled things in the worst way a person could have.”

“I am sorry to my family, sisters, and aunts. It’s impossible to forgive me. I don’t forgive myself. I just want to let them know I’m sorry,” he said.

A seven-year sentence was requested for Sumney by his defense because he “expressed remorse” and blamed his drug and alcohol use for his crime.

The family of Margaret, on the other hand, pushed for a harsher punishment than the one he ultimately received.

Margaret’s older sister, Mary Ellen, told the court that Sumney was “less than a piece of trash” and wished he would be executed. Margaret’s other sister, Ann Shade, asked “don’t give him a second chance.”

If Sumney had been convicted of his initial charges, he could have faced life in prison.

He’s cousin, Margo, said she’ll never forget the “metallic smell” when she entered the blood-soaked home in 2019.

“He is the epitome of pure evil,” she said. “There is no peace in all of this.”

As part of the defense, two Allegheny jail employees testified that Sumney was a model prisoner who participated in Bible studies with other inmates. The doctor also testified that Sumney was taking “extremely high doses” of Adderall at the time of the murder, resulting in diminished mental capacity.

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

Sumney was sentenced 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. Despite all the blood splattered on the walls, I think I’m sickest of all the pictures. You only take pictures if you want to look back on your actions.”

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

John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.