Prosecutors: Son's actions in fatal baseball bat beating of mom were 'intentional'

  • Thomas J. Summerwill is held on $300,000 bail at the Kane County jail on second-degree murder charges.

    Thomas J. Summerwill is held on $300,000 bail at the Kane County jail on second-degree murder charges.

Updated 5/14/2019 6:07 PM

A judge set bail Tuesday at $300,000 for a 21-year-old man accused of second-degree murder for fatally beating his mother with a baseball bat in their Campton Hills house in late March.

Thomas J. Summerwill is "devastated" because he thought Mary Summerwill, 53, was an intruder in his bedroom at their house on the 40W600 block of Willowbrook Drive and struck her with a sports memorabilia signed baseball bat that was hanging on his wall, his attorney said.


Defense attorney Liam Dixon said his client had just returned from a trip to Ireland and other parts of Europe over spring break and may have been experiencing jet lag when he thought his mom was an intruder in his second-floor bedroom the morning of March 24.

Dixon said his client had a great relationship with his mom, has the full support of his family, including her relatives, and is "devastated."

"Whatever the state does to him will pale in comparison to what's already happened," Dixon said outside of bond court.

Summerwill faces two counts of second-degree murder, which is punishable by four to 20 years in prison upon conviction, but also is eligible for probation.

According to police, a family member called authorities that morning from the house to report she'd been injured. Mary Summerwill died a short time later at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

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At the time, Campton Hills police said they were investigating a homicide and there was no danger to the community.

Dixon has characterized Mary Summerwill's death as a "horrible accident," while prosecutors argue in the second-degree murder charges are warranted because Thomas Summerwill's belief of an intruder "was not reasonable because of his alcohol impairment."

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon thanked investigators but declined to comment on the case's specifics.

"The facts of the case will come out in court," McMahon said. "We believe that the appropriate charge was second-degree murder. That's what the evidence supports."

Thomas Summerwill's family is expected to post the $30,000 bond so he can be released from the Kane County jail while the case is pending. Summerwill, a St. Charles North High School graduate who just finished his junior year at University of Wisconsin-Madison, is next due in court May 23.

Summerwill, who has no previous arrests, also must surrender his passport under bond conditions set by Kane County Judge Keith Johnson.

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