21-Year-Old College Student Accidentally Beats Mom to Death

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
May 16, 2019USshare
21-Year-Old College Student Accidentally Beats Mom to Death
Thomas Summerwill in a police photo. (Kane County State's Attorney's Office)

A man has been arrested after accidentally beating his mother to death.

Thomas W. Summerwill was home on spring break from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Chicago Tribune reported. In the early hours of March 24 he was in his room when his mother walked in, police say. The 21-year-old allegedly grabbed an autographed memorabilia baseball bat that was hanging in his room and beat his mother to death with it.

“The allegations are that he was essentially startled awake, believing there was an intruder in his room,” said defense attorney Liam Dixon, via the Chicago Tribune. “It was a freak accident and a tragic, horrible story all the way around.”

The tragedy occurred at the family’s $500,000 home in Campton Hills, Illinois, the Daily Mail reported.

As for why Summerwill felt it necessary to spring into violent action, leading to the death of his 53-year-old mother, prosecutors say he was drunk.

Summerwill’s attorney also brings up jet lag as a possible cause that led to an error in judgement. Summerwill had recently come back from a trip to Ireland and other parts of Europe.

Kane County prosecutors charged Summerwill with second-degree murder.

Dixon said that there was no antagonism between mother and son.

“They had an excellent relationship,” Dixon told the Chicago Tribune. “I wouldn’t even call it a typical relationship, I would say it’s very loving. She adored him.”

Summerwill and his father called 911 from the home the same morning after the tragedy, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Summerwill’s mother died at the hospital soon after from cranial injuries, according to the Daily Mail.

Summerwill posted $30,000 bond on May 14. His next court date is set for May 23, the Chicago Tribune reported. If convicted, he faces a minimum of probation to a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Son Accidentally Shoots Mother

In 2018, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for accidentally shooting and killing his mother, The Advocate reported. His mother was 37 years old at the time of the tragedy in 2016.

Dexter Clay was arguing with his mother about continuing to live with her, The Advocate reported. The argument got physical, and Clay had a gun in his pocket. As his mother was pushing him, his handgun fell out of his pocket. When he went to pick it up, he accidentally pulled the trigger.

Clay was trying to give his mother first aid when police arrived, WAFB reported. The gun went off when Clay’s mother hit him as he went to pick it up.

Clay’s initial charge of negligent homicide was changed to manslaughter, WAFB reported.

Clay also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and possession of a stolen firearm, according to The Advocate.

8-Year-Old Boy Accidentally Shoots Mom

On May 14, an 8-year-old boy accidentally shot his mother at a college baseball game in Tennessee, Fox News reported.

Police said the boy found the gun inside an antique car that was on display at the stadium. He shot his mother at around 6:45 p.m., during the first inning of the game, Fox News reported.

“The juvenile believed it was a toy gun. He picked the gun up, pulled the trigger, and accidentally shot his mother,” Millington Police Chief Mark Dunbar told WMC.

The mother was brought to the hospital in critical condition, but her condition was later upgraded to stable, according to Fox 13.

The gun’s owner, 76-year-old Charles McFarland, was arrested. He faces reckless endangerment charges, according to WMC.

“Secure your weapon if you have a weapon,” Dunbar told WMC. “Everybody’s got a right to carry if you get a carry permit, but you need to use common sense and secure your weapons.”

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