Hummel Admits to Physically Abusing, Killing Wife
CLEARFIELD – “You hear the saying, so mad you can’t see straight? That was me.”
Those were the words of Edward V. Hummel during cross-examination on Thursday. Prior to again being found guilty of first degree murder, Edward Hummel took the stand in his own defense.
Edward Hummel, 55, of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview and formerly of Morrisdale has been charged with criminal homicide and accused of murdering his wife, Debra Hummel on Nov. 22, 1991. Hummel shot his wife in her left cheek region of her face in the basement of their residence with a 45-caliber, semi-automatic pistol.
Then, Hummel turned the murder weapon on himself in a failed attempt to commit suicide. He survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was convicted of his wife’s murder in 1993. But in 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated his original conviction and granted Hummel a second trial.
The court ruled that his defense attorney didn’t effectively contend the defendant’s competency for being on trial after he’d sustained severe brain injuries because of his suicide attempt, which has left him paraplegic. In 2010, Hummel was declared competent to stand trial a second time
On Thursday Edward Hummel was wheeled to the witness stand. At times while being questioned by his attorney, H. David Rothman, Edward Hummel would answer a question one way, then when asked the same question, answer it a different way.
When asked by Rothman if he killed his wife, Edward Hummel answered, “Yes.” He stated he used a .45 caliber pistol.
“Why did you kill your wife,” asked Rothman. Edward Hummel said there were many phone calls.
“A woman in distress … Mrs. Maines,” said Edward Hummel, referring to Lisa Maines, the wife of the man who had an affair with his wife.
“She said my wife was running around on me.”
Edward Hummel said his wife told him about the affair, and that on the night of Nov. 22, 1991, his parents were supposed to take them out to dinner. He also testified that he and his wife had a meeting with the bank to get a mortgage on their house to pay off debt she had reportedly incurred.
Edward Hummel testified that he and his wife were yelling at each other. He testified under direct that his wife’s body was in the basement. He said he told his daughter’s that she was running around on him and put him in debt.
His attorney asked him what he meant by her “running around.”
“She was having affairs,” said Edward Hummel. He added that his house had been receiving a lot of phone calls.
“I got a whole bunch of phone calls,” said Hummel. He added, giggling, “It drove me nuts.”
He also testified that he told his parents he shot his wife. He was also asked about a note he left to his daughters after he killed his wife, in which he apologized to them.
“I guess I wanted people to know what was going on,” said Edward Hummel.
He was then asked why he turned the gun on himself. “I just didn’t care anymore,” said Edward Hummel. “About anything.”
Regarding the gun, Edward Hummel testified that he kept the .45 caliber separate from the magazine.
Rothman also asked him about a trip to Leonard Martin’s. He asked Edward Hummel if he threatened Leonard Martin, Debra Hummel’s brother, and people in their family.
“They said I did,” said Edward Hummel.
“Did you,” asked Rothman. Edward Hummel replied, “No.”
He then responded, “I probably said something. I was mad enough too.”
“Do you remember arguing with your wife over credit card bills,” asked Rothman.
“Oh yeah,” said Edward Hummel. “I was always arguing with her about that.”
While Edward Hummel at times had to be led during previous questioning, his memory seemed fairly clear on the debt situation. He indicated they were $30,000 in debt. He indicated that Debra Hummel had used the credit cards for cash advances. He said the plan was to take out a mortgage on the house to pay off that debt, but he decided against it. He stated he built the house without a mortgage and that he didn’t see the point in getting a mortgage to pay off the credit card debt.
Rothman also attempted to get Hummel to testify about his current health situation. Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. objected as to the relevance in such a line of questioning. Rothman said it went to his client’s credibility. The judge sustained Shaw’s objection. It was a line of questioning the elderly Rothman attempted to work for some time, with Shaw continually objecting. The Honorable Paul E. Cherry ordered Rothman to move along.
Later, before the jury was charged, Rothman filed Points for Charge that may have shedded some light on his questioning regarding Edward Hummel’s health. He indicated the jury has the power to acquit by their power of mercy. It was indicated that Rothman wanted emotions entered into the points of charge.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate for a jury,” argued Shaw. He stated that sympathy shouldn’t play a part in the jury’s deliberations. He stated that it is inappropriate for a jury to be read the law then tell them to ignore it.
Cherry stated they would not be entered into the points of charge.
During cross, Shaw asked Edward Hummel if he remembered shooting his wife. He replied yes.
“Before you shot her, did you punch her,” asked Shaw.
“I was so angry I wouldn’t doubt it,” responded Edward Hummel.
“Did you punch her in the face,” asked Shaw.
“Yeah,” replied Edward Hummel.
Shaw asked him if he remembered pulling her wedding ring off. He said no, he asked for it.
“I put it in a vice and crushed it right up,” said Edward Hummel.
Shaw asked him about calling his parents to come down during the incident. Edward Hummel said he wanted them to come down and straighten things out … “Money and affairs.”
“Instead of waiting for them, what did you do,” asked Shaw.
“I remember being so mad … I couldn’t see,” said Edward Hummel. ”You hear the saying, so mad you can’t see straight? That was me.”
He testified that he punched her so hard it knocked her out. Shaw asked him if he was standing over her when he shot her. He first answered that he didn’t remember. He was asked again, and said, “Yeah.”
Shaw asked him he had previously hit Debra Hummel. Edward Hummel stated had trouble telling the truth.
“She needed her memory jogged,” said Edward Hummel. He indicated he started with yelling. If that didn’t work, he indicated he would walk away, or hit her.
The trial wrapped up Thursday afternoon with the jury delivering a guilty verdict on the charge of first degree murder. Hummel is looking at a mandatory life sentence in prison.