Edward Vincent Hummel, 53, was found guilty after a trial in Clearfield County Court in May. It took only about 30 minutes for the jury to reach that decision.
According to testimony in the trial, on Nov. 22, 1991 Hummel, killed his wife, Debra Hummel, at their home inGrahamTownship. Shortly after this, a suicide attempt left Hummel a paraplegic.
Judge Paul E. Cherry announced the sentence including with it a condition that Hummel serves his time at the state correctional institution at Laurel Highlands due to his medical issues.
Hummel who had been previously convicted of first degree murder in 1993 was an inmate there for several years. After an appeal, the case was returned in 2009 to Clearfield County for a new trial. The main issue in that appeal was that Hummel was not competent to stand trial and that his lawyer was ineffective in not requesting a competency hearing. The trial was rescheduled after Hummel was determined to be competent but was postponed again in 2010 as the defense appealed several other issues.
Prior to sentencing when Cherry asked if he had anything to say, Hummel replied no. After District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. read Hummel his sentencing rights and asked if he understood them, Hummel smiled and gave him a thumbs up.
Attorney H. David Rothman, who was representing Hummel, was not able to attend the sentencing hearing due to medical problems but was included in the proceedings via speaker phone. He filed a motion to withdraw from the case, which Cherry granted.
According to Shaw, the life sentence was mandatory but if Hummel had been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead, he would have been released because he has already served the maximum sentence for that crime.
This was the big question during the trial, whether Hummel’s actions were pre-meditated or if he acted in the heat of passion after serious provocation. Rothman argued the murder was a sudden response to Hummel finding out his wife was having an affair although he found out earlier that day and had time to make plans to pick her up at work. After leaving one of his daughter’s off at a friend’s home, he took his wife home where he hit her several times before shooting her.
Testimony revealed that Hummel had commented to his daughters prior to that day, that their mother needed a bullet in her head.
Shaw in his closing arguments at the trial, called the attack on Debbie Hummel “just malicious” and “cruel”. He stated that she was struck up to nine times which was sufficient enough to knock her out. After this, Hummel had time to find the pistol and the ammunition which was stored separately. He loaded the gun and then shot her in the face.
“That’s malice. That’s intent to kill,” Shaw stated.