H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Feb 21, 2013 8:17 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Jury finds Shumey legally sane at the time of mother's murder

A San Luis Obispo jury has announced a verdict in the second phase of one of the biggest local murder trials of the year. Jurors only deliberated a few hours before deciding that Christopher Shumey was sane at the time of the murder.

On February 5, Shumey was found guilty in the second degree of murdering his mother in September of 2011. He was also found guilty of assault on a peace officer.

The trial had been going on for almost a month. The first phase was to determine if Shumey was guilty of murder and assault on a peace officer, and the second phase was to determine if Shumey was legally sane at the time of the shooting.

Blahnik said in closing arguments on Thursday morning, that Shumey had been struggling with mental illness since 1999, when he was a student at UC Santa Cruz. He said Shumey had been practicing how to ignore voices in his head, but when he's left alone, like on that fateful September 2011 day, he goes into his own world. Blahnik stated that his client had intentions on killing himself, but when his mother showed up at his San Luis Obispo apartment unannounced, Blahnik called it a "suicide interrupted". Shumey shot his mother twice, including once in her head.

But, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray told jurors on Thursday morning that "this is an irrisistable impulse case", and Shumey was not insane on the day of the shooting.

"I think the jury clearly got it, and did the right thing. And it's not easy to do that, do this, there certainly was a very strong sympathy factor for Mr. Shumey's family. It's been a tragedy for them, but the rule of law has to prevail," said Gray.

Shumey's mother, 65-year old Karen Shumey, was a beloved eighth grade teacher at Vandenberg Middle School.

Sentencing is set for March 21 at 8:30am. Shumey faces 50 years to life in prison.

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