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Crime & Courts

Prosecutors: Alcohol factor in woman’s beating death

Bond set at $300k for Thomas Summerwill

CAMPTON HILLS – Prosecutors say Thomas Summerwill, 21, was drunk when he beat his mother, Mary Summerwill, 53, to death with a baseball bat on March 24.

Prosecutors said that on the morning of March 24, Summerwill awoke in his Campton Hills home to what he thought was an intruder in his bedroom.

“Acting in what he believed was the defense of himself or his property, Summerwill grabbed a baseball bat and struck the person multiple times in the head with it, not realizing the person was his mother, Mary Summerwill, who died as a result of the blunt force trauma,” according to a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Thomas Summerwill’s belief was not reasonable because he was drunk, the release stated. They would not comment on why they thought he was impaired.

Summerwill was charged with two counts of second-degree murder Monday, and could face four to 20 years in prison if convicted. He also could be eligible for probation.

A Kane County judge set his bond at $300,000. He would need to post $30,000 in cash to be released, which his attorney said would be posted.

“We believe that the appropriate charge is second-degree murder,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said at a news conference Tuesday. “That’s what the evidence supports.”

Unlike first-degree murder, second-degree murder does not require the state to prove that the attacker planned to kill the victim in advance.

Campton Hills police have said that their officers, along with Kane County sheriff’s deputies, responded March 24 to a 911 call at Summerwill’s home in the 40W600 block of Willowbrook Drive. Inside, they found Mary Summerwill, who was taken to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, where she died.

The coroner’s office later determined she most likely died of head injuries from a baseball bat.

Liam Dixon, Thomas Summerwill’s attorney, said that his client had just returned from Europe.

“She was in his bedroom and he thought it was an intruder in his room in the dark.” As to why his mother was in his bedroom, Dixon said, “Maybe she was checking on him.”

Dixon said the charges against Summerwill are based on the belief that his actions were intentional and his explanation of why he struck his mother repeatedly was unreasonable.

Kane County Circuit Court Judge Keith Johnson set Summerwill’s next court date for May 23.

Speaking after bond court Tuesday, Dixon said Thomas Summerwill is supported by his father, Jeffrey Summerwill, his brother Ryan Summerwill, as well as Mary Summerwill’s father, brothers and sisters.

• Reporter Eric Schelkopf contributed to this story.

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