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Family friend defends Campton Hills man charged in murder of mother

Thomas Summerwill released from jail after posting 10 percent of $300,000 bond

Thomas W. Summerwill is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of his mother.
Thomas W. Summerwill is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of his mother.

CAMPTON HILLS – A family friend is coming to the defense of a Campton Hills man who is charged with beating his mother to death with a baseball bat.

Prosecutors allege that Thomas Summerwill, 21, was drunk when he beat his mother, Mary Bridget Summerwill, 53, to death with a baseball bat on March 24.

According to Liam Dixon, Thomas Summerwill’s attorney, he had just returned from a trip to Europe in the hours prior to the baseball bat attack. Longtime family friend Maria Deneau, who grew up on the same street as Mary Summerwill in Cincinnati, Ohio, said she believes Thomas Summerwill might have suffered from jet lag at the time.

"As a former flight attendant, I have had serious jet lag," Deneau said in an email. "I have had alcohol on top of serious jet lag. I had my husband try to wake me up and had no recollection of that happening. Once, it took me 15 minutes to figure out where I was due to jet lag with NO alcohol and with no ability to process 'real time.' ''

Deneau said she believes what happened to Mary Summerwill was a "horrible accident."

"I do hope the judge and/ or jury take my personal account into consideration as they take Tommy’s life and future into their hands," she said. "Don’t ruin him. Bridget would not have wanted that, no matter what."

She added that Mary Summerwill was proud of both Thomas Summerwill and her other son, Ryan, and "talked about them with joy," she said.

Kane County prosecutors allege that the morning of March 24, Summerwill awoke in his Campton Hills home to what he believed 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,” stated a news release from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors asserted in the release that Thomas Summerwill’s belief was not reasonable, because he was drunk. Prosecutors would not say what his blood alcohol content was, other than it is specific evidence that will come out as the court case proceeds.

Summerwill has been charged with two counts of second degree murder. He was released from Kane County Jail on May 14 after posting 10 percent of his $300,000 bond, or $30,000.

According to the Campton Hills police department, on the morning of March 24, both local and sheriff’s police officers responded to a 911 call at Summerwill’s home on the 40W600 block of Willowbrook Drive and found Mary Summerwill, who was subsequently transported to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, where she died.The coroner’s office later determined she most likely died of cranial injuries from a baseball bat attack.

Thomas Summerwill is a 2016 St. Charles North High School graduate. While attending the school, he juggled academics with sports, including being a member of the St. Charles North football team.

He has been a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 2016 and has been involved with a number of activities there, including being the Chief Justice of the Student Judiciary, according to his LinkedIn page.

"I act as the leader of the Judiciary and financial supervisor for the Judiciary," he states on his LinkedIn page. "The Judiciary itself hears cases and acts as an arbitrary body for disputes that arise in the student body and within the student government. These disputes mostly prominently pertain to due process and viewpoint neutrality violations."

He worked as an intern for four months in 2018 in the office of Wisconsin State Sen. Lena Taylor, according to his LinkedIn page, with his work being focused within the Department of Corrections and towards prison and judicial reform in the state of Wisconsin.

"The experience allowed me to continue to develop my passion for law and public service, and expand my previous knowledge of criminal justice and law," he states on the page. "Equally, the opportunity allowed me to work and excel in a legislative office and enabled me to further engage with the larger issues that exist in communities across America."

Thomas Summerwill also worked as a summer law clerk in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in 2017, according to his LinkedIn page.

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