Hummel Murder Retrial Under Way
CLEARFIELD – A Wallaceton man previously convicted of murdering his wife was back in court on Tuesday.
Edward Hummel was convicted of the 1991 murder of his wife Deborah Hummel in early 1993. After murdering his wife, Hummel then turned the murder weapon on himself in a failed attempt to commit suicide.
In 2009, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated his original conviction on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective.
Edward Hummel faces charges of criminal homicide, first degree murder and third degree murder; a charge of aggravated assault was dropped by the Commonwealth.
The trial got off to a slow start when Edward Hummel’s defense attorney arrived late.
Testimony in the first day of trial included state troopers, Edward Hummel’s biological daughters, the man Deborah Hummel had an affair with, and his wife.
Walter Maines testified that he was involved in an affair with Deborah Hummel. He said his wife found out one day after he deposited a check at the bank where Deborah Hummel worked. He said Deborah Hummel gave him a deposit slip, as well as a note. He said he read it briefly, then threw it in the garbage when he arrived home. He testified he went to pick up a relative after dinner, and when he came home, his wife was really angry with him.
Under cross by Hummel’s attorney, H. David Rothman, Walter Maines was asked if he was aware that his wife had called Edward Hummel after she found out about the affair.
“No,” he replied.
Lisa Maines, Walter Maines’ wife, testified that on Nov. 22, 1991, she was watching out the window of their residence when her husband returned home from depositing his check. She said she saw him throw a piece of paper away. She said after they ate and he left to pick up a relative, she retrieved the piece of paper. She said it was addressed to her husband.
She said the note said she (Deborah Hummel) couldn’t wait to be in his arms again … that she “just thought of doing it.” Under cross, she stated the note was signed, “Love, Debbie.” She testified that when her husband got home, an argument ensued. She said he initially denied an affair. Lisa Maines said she took the note to the bank and confronted Deborah Hummel. She said she told her she was going to go home and call her (Deborah Hummel’s) husband.
Lisa Maines said she eventually got in touch with Edward Hummel and told him his wife was sleeping with her husband. She said he asked if this was Walt Maines’ wife.
“You already know, don’t you,” she stated she said to him. She said he told her he found out that morning. She said there was some back and forth on whether they were seeking divorces, and when she said no, he hung up.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. asked her about Edward Hummel’s demeanor during the call.
“He was calm. Not surprised,” she said.
Lisa Maines testified that she had suspicions that something was up between her husband and Deborah Hummel for some time.
Edward Hummel’s biological daughters, Janelle Bainey, was the third person to take the stand. Throughout her testimony, she rarely referred to Edward Hummel as her father, only “Ed”; the same was true for his parents and aunt. Her sister used the same names.
She testified that on Nov. 22, 1991, she was 13 years old. She said she was home from school due to the Philipsburg-Osceola teacher’s strike. She stated that some phone calls for Edward Hummel came in before he came home from work. She said that it was Lisa Maines calling for her father. She testified her father got home between 4 and 4:30 p.m. She testified that Lisa Maines called again after her father got home. She said she was not present for that conversation.
She said after the call, she rode to her mother’s place of employment with Edward Hummel in his truck. At this point, she began to cry.
“He was mad,” she said. She continued, stating that Edward Hummel asked her if she knew her mother was having an affair.
She said when they arrived, he had her go in and tell her mother he was there to take her out to dinner. She testified he never took her out to dinner. She said when they came out, “Ed” was in the driver’s seat of her mother’s Chevy Blazer. She said he took her to a friend’s house, where she and her friend intended to go to the movies.
Shaw asked her how her father appeared during that ride.
“He appeared upset. Angry,” she said. “You could tell there was something going on.”
Bainey said she was dropped off at her friend’s, but never went to the movies. She testified that Russ Hummel, Edward Hummel’s father, arrived and indicated that she had to leave with him. From there, they went to find her sister. After they found her, they went to Russ Hummel’s residence.
She testified that when they arrived at Russ Hummel’s residence, Edward Hummel was in the parking lot of the adjacent school in Wallaceton. She said they went inside, and eventually, her father arrived in the house. Shaw asked her how he appeared.
“I don’t even know the word,” Bainey replied. She said he had a handgun in his hand. She said her sister Lena started yelling, asking where their mother was. She said Edward Hummel responded, telling them that she was dead; he was jealous of her; she made him mad. Bainey said her father told them to give him a hug or he would do it to himself. She said she went over and stood beside him and that her sister didn’t go near him.
“The atmosphere … it was crazy,” said Bainey. “My sister and I were yelling and screaming. We wanted to run down the road and nobody would let us go.
Bainey said Edward Hummel soon left, with his parents not long after. She said they spent the night at Russ Hummel’s brother’s residence.
Shaw asked Bainey about incidents of abuse perpetrated by Edward Hummel against her mother. She testified that when the women/girls in the family would go school clothes shopping, they would not show Edward Hummel, as it made him angry. She testified that in October 1991, her parents were involved in an argument. She said during the argument, Edward Hummel told her mother, “What you need is a bullet in the head.” She said her mother wouldn’t yell at Edward Hummel.
“Ed would yell at her.”
She also testified to another incident in which Edward Hummel reportedly pushed her mother down a flight of steps.
Bainey’s older sister, Lena Halsey, corroborated the abuse testimony, as well as that of the the incident at Russ Hummel’s residence. She said he controlled everything. She testified they, her sister, her mother and herself, had little contact with her mother’s side of the family, as they were not allowed.
“He was very explosive,” she said. “We had to walk on eggshells. Those are things I had to grow up with my whole life.”
Retired state trooper Richard Crain testified that on Nov. 22, 1991, he was on duty when Russ Hummel arrived at the barracks and said he believed his son may have killed his (his son’s) wife. He said that eventually, he and some other troopers responded to Edward and Deborah Hummel’s residence. Crain said it was in the evening, dark and raining. He said he flashed a light through a basement window and saw what appeared to be a person lying on the floor. He said another trooper arrived, and with the additional flashlight, they saw another body.
After a forced entry, the troopers found Deborah Hummel in a pool of blood with a bullet hole in her left cheek. Crain, and Cpl. Scott Neal testified that Edward Hummel was on the floor next to her. Both said he looked deceased. Both said they were startled when he spoke with them. Both also testified that they saw a handgun between Edward Hummel’s legs. Crain testified that an ambulance was called and Edward Hummel was taken for treatment.
Neal testified that he found a note addressed to the Hummel girls from Edward Hummel at his parents’ home, in which he apologized for killing their mother.
Cpl. Ronald Shirey testified that on the date in question, he was assigned to investigate the shooting. At the time, he was with the Records and Identification Unit, now the state police’s forensic’s division. Using visual aids, he pointed to a bullet hole in a refrigerator in the Hummel basement. He said a round was recovered from the fridge, as was one from Deborah Hummel. He indicated that both were .45 caliber rounds.
The trial resumes this morning at 9 a.m. at the Clearfield County Courthouse with the Honorable Judge Paul E. Cherry presiding.