College student charged after beating mom to death when he mistook her for intruder


  • Thomas Summerwill beat his mother to death with a baseball bat thinking that she was an intruder.
  • The 21-year-old allegedly was startled awake at his bedroom and acted in self-defense, striking the ‘intruder’ several times in the head.
  • Summerwill was charged with second-degree murder and is due to return to court.

A college student was charged with second-degree murder this week after beating his mother to death with a baseball bat, thinking that she was an intruder. He’d surrendered himself to authorities Monday after criminal charges were filed for his mother’s death. Mary B. Summerwill, 53, died at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva due to cranial injuries consistent with being hit by a baseball bat.

Thomas J. Summerwill, 21, was home from his trip to Ireland and Europe for spring break. His defense attorney, Liam Dixon, said that Summerwill was startled awake in the early morning hours of March 24 and believed he was acting in self-defense against an intruder in his room. Dixon added that Thomas could have had jet lag. The young man didn’t realize the intruder was his mother and struck her several times in the head.

Summerwill and his father, who was present in the family home in Campton Hills, called 911 the morning of the incident. Dixon said the whole thing was a “horrible accident” and that Summerwill has the full support of his family.

Kane County state’s attorney’s officials allege in a news release that Summerwill was under the influence of alcohol, hence, his belief was not reasonable.

Dixon said, “If they allege alcohol played a role, I don’t know that that changes his reasoning.”

When asked why his office charged the University of Wisconsin-Madison student with second-degree murder, McMahon said that that’s what the evidence points to. “We believe that is the appropriate charge.”

Dixon said that Summerwill has no prior criminal history and had an “excellent relationship” with his mother. “She adored him.”

Tuesday, Summerwill posted $30,000 bond and is due to appear in court once more on May 23.


Source: Chicago Tribune

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