Murder victim’s family angry over 40 year sentence

April 5, 2013
Christopher Shumey

Christopher Shumey

The husband and sister of a woman who was murdered by her mentally ill son told the court they were upset about the 40-year to life sentence given to Christopher Shumey.

Shumey allegedly shot and killed his mother, a 65-year-old teacher, at his apartment at the corner of Beach and Buchon streets in September 2011. After killing his mother, Shumey fired at police officers from his upstairs apartment.

His father Robert Shumey said he was disappointed in San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Karen Gray for portraying his wife Karen Shumey as an overbearing mother in order to provide a motive for the murder. He said his wife and son had a caring relationship.

In January, Christopher Shumey pled not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury determined he was sane at the time of his mother’s murder.

On Thursday, Christopher Shumey’s father told the court that the family was upset with the verdict.

“To send a mentally ill person to prison for the rest of his life, where he will be minimally maintained with limited opportunity to improve his mental condition, is not humane and is not justice,” Robert Shumey said.

Gray argued that Shumey could get treatment for his illness in prison.

“This defendant remains a dangerous person, and society needs to be protected from him,” Gray said.

Pamela Harris, the victim’s sister, asked the court to recommend her nephew be incarcerated in a mental institution.

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy said he would make the recommendation, but that ultimately prison system officials will make the determination where Christopher Shumey will serve his sentence.


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I see that several have thumbs down on my last post here, but many have stated the same thing as I, so I’m at a loss as to what you people want to do with this person.

According to the rag Trib, his parents know he was ramping up the last several weeks, why wasn’t help gotten for him at that time, granted the mental health center here in SLO County is about usless, but ti would have been a step, or get him to a doctor, doing something would have been better than what happened, I guess if one of my kids went nutso like this and I didn’t help I would fell responsible, with this case I just don’t know what is actually right, mental or not this person killed someone, now our tax dollars might have been well spent if he had got help, but after this I see no reason that our tax dollars should be used to house a killer for the rest of his life.

Shumey was under the care of a psychiatrist who, along with the family, did not see this kind of event coming.

Of course he is a sicko, and he needs to be put away forever to be able to hurt as few as possible until he dies and rids us all of a huge dangerous problem. Throw away the key, forever.

If this man had a history of mental illness, how in the world can they dub him “sane” at the very worse point of his illness? Such discrimination and ignorance of mental illness in this case. I am amazed of the verdict. He belongs in ASH, not a general prison. I do think anyone committing such a crime needs to be locked away, but putting him in GP Jail is irresponsible. It’s not only for monitoring his mental capacity, but also for the safety of the other inmates.

No, no ,no. You need to read up on the legal definition of “insanity” and “not guilty by reason of insanity”.

Gauging from his mugshot, he may have a better opportuninty to get well in the movie industry,” The Unnatural”. He will not get well in prison and society as a whole will suffer too.

Is it mean Friday or are people really becoming this cold and careless?

Christopher Shumey killed his mother in broad day light and of course he was mentally ill. He was severely mentally ill. That’s why his parents had been visiting him and returned that afternoon. His father and sister lost their dear wife and mother and now they’ve lost their sick son and brother to life in prison rather than treatment and a chance to get well. Hasn’t the father suffered a loss greater than most of us can imagine ever having to face and yet we’re so cruel! Why?

I’m not going to go into the aspects of mental illness or mention that it doesn’t discriminate. It’s the lack of empathy and compassion for the broken hearted people who must somehow pick up the pieces and go on that I’m focused on. There simply isn’t enough research dedicated towards a cure for this devastating malady and my heart breaks for this family.

I wish Mr Robert Shumey and his family my best and am saddened that his son won’t be getting the “medical” help he needs. He has rather been taken away for the rest of his life with little if any chance of ever recovering. This must be a very painful and hopeless time for this family, they feel that they have lost another loved one. God Bless You.

The Shumey family wrote a very naive letter to the Tribune basically accusing Karen Gray of hurting their feelings, but this case, unlike the Andrew Downs case, was simply not “not guilty by reason of insanity”.

I can understand their anguish at wanting a second chance for their loved one; but I wouldn’t trust this family or their psychiatrist to recognize when another break might result in another death. It’s possible that no one could see it coming.

Mr. Shumey will get psychiatric care in prison, but he won’t have the opportunity to maim or kill someone as he would in ASH with its lack of security for staff. Treatment is not rocket science. We haven’t progressed that far. The psychiatrist will try different medications to see if they work.

What the family doesn’t understand is that Mr. Shumey’s illness may have progressed. They are thinking that with medication, he will return to the way he was 5 years ago. That may or may not happen. Sometimes each active episode represents a progression of insanity.

The family seems to have done everything they could to help Mr. Shumey. What happened is not their fault. Yes, they made a mistake with the guns, but Mr. Shumey might well have used a knife instead. Most people realize that what Christopher Shumey saw as “controlling” was simply a matter of trying to complete a form for disability. Mrs.Shumey did the appropriate action by leaving for 20 minutes so he could calm down. How could she possibly know that what had worked in the past wouldn’t work this time.

Christopher Shumey didn’t “Allegedly shoot” his mother, he DID shoot his mother!

I personally don’t want to house, feed and provide medical care for this individual.

The mental gig is so old, I really don’t think it matters insane at the time, sorry you should fry, why should we taxpayers foot the bill for someone else’s defect when help should have been gotten for this person long before this happened, IF he truly is a mental case.

Maybe we should try his father for not seeking the help his son “needed” before he killed someone.

Point well taken regarding all these young men who seem to have these severe mental issues (Arizona. Colorado and Connecticut shooters as well as Downs, Shumey, etc. just to mention a few) and why did the families not report them to law enforcement especially knowing they had guns in their possession. I know as parents we want to protect our children but the time has come to face reality and know these people need “professional” intervention and not parental protection. Very sad case and my sympathy for this grieving family

Not guilty by reason of insanity is such a sham.

IMHO, people who are criminally insane are a far greater risk to society then those who are not insane. As a consequence, they should be locked away until they no longer pose a risk to society.

Throw his ass in GENERAL POP they will give him all the mental health he needs , good riddance to a bad actor