Campus News

UW-Madison student charged with beating mother to death

UW-Madison junior is charged with second-degree murder on beating mother to death. 

Image By: Thomas Yonash

A suburban Chicago man mistook his mother for an intruder when he repeatedly struck her with a baseball bat, according to his attorney.

Rising UW-Madison senior Thomas J. Summerwill of Campton Hills is charged with second-degree murder in the March 24 beating death of 53-year-old Mary Summerwill.

Summerwill’s attorney Liam Dixon said Summerwill struck his mother with a sports memorabilia baseball bat that was hanging on the wall of his second-floor bedroom as he thought his mother was an intruder.

A coroner determined Mary Summerwill died of cranial injuries.

Prosecutors argue that Summerwill had an unreasonable belief due to his alcohol impairment. Dixon told reporters of the Daily Herald that Summerwill may have had jet lag from a trip to Europe.

Dixon said Tuesday that Mary Summerwill's death is a "horrible accident" and Thomas Summerwill is "devastated." Summerwill has the support of his family members, who are disappointed with the charges, Dixon said.

A judge set bond at $300,000 Tuesday. Dixon said Summerwill would be posting bail.

Second-degree murder is punishable by probation or a sentence up to 20 years in prison. May 23 is Summerwill’s next court date.

According to Meredith McGlone, the Director of News & Media Relations at UW-Madison, the university could confirm that Thomas J. Summerwill is currently enrolled as a student, but was unable to provide any other information at this time because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Editor's Update: [5/15/19, 4:01 p.m.]: This article previously didn't include the response from the university official. 

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