Arraignment postponed for SLO man accused of killing mother

Christopher John Shumey
Christopher John Shumey

UPDATE 2:15 p.m. Wednesday: A man accused of shooting his mother to death last weekend appeared in Judge John Trice’s courtroom today but did not enter a plea.

Christopher John Shumey, 34, appeared alongside public defender Patricia Ashbaugh, but his case was continued until next week.

Shumey now is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Michael Duffy’s court for his arraignment.

He’s accused of murder and assault with a firearm against a police officer in the shooting death on Saturday afternoon of his mother, Karen Lee Shumey, with whom he’d had an argument. The incident took place at Christopher Shumey’s home on Beach Street.

Ashbaugh’s office, which represents indigent clients, and the District Attorney’s Office still haven’t assigned attorneys to the case, which led to the delay.

Shumey appeared alert and aware of questions asked of him at a video conference Tuesday in which Judge Jacquelyn Duffy inquired about his awareness of his right to a lawyer and read his charges.

Shumey is being held without bail at County Jail.

Original story: The 34-year-old San Luis Obispo man accused of shooting his mother to death after an argument Saturday made his first court appearance today and responded reasonably, formally and in an upbeat manner to questions asked by a judge.

Christopher John Shumey appeared on a video feed from County Jail to respond to Judge Jacquelyn Duffy’s reading of the charges and question about whether he could afford an attorney. Duffy spoke to Shumey from a San Luis Obispo Superior courtroom.

Shumey appeared in the video conference in a black-and-white jail uniform, signifying he’s a dangerous inmate.

Shumey said in a clear, confident voice “I do” when asked if he understood the charges of homicide against his mother, Karen Lee Shumey, a Vandenberg Middle School teacher, and assault with a firearm upon a police officer.

The defendant also said that he wasn’t sure if he could afford a lawyer because he wasn’t sure of the cost. Duffy said she’d appoint a public defender to represent him, but a lawyer wasn’t available at the 4 p.m. conference.

Shumey is expected to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Judge John Trice’s courtroom 8:30 a.m.

San Luis Obispo police were called to Christopher Shumey’s home at Beach and Buchon streets just after 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Police said Karen Shumey visited earlier in the afternoon, and the two had an argument. When she returned, Shumey allegedly shot and killed her on the upstairs landing outside the front door.

Police arrived on the scene minutes after the first shots were fired. The suspect then fired a shot at the first squad car on the scene from inside the second floor, San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deborah Linden said.

Shumey also faces enhanced penalty of using a shotgun in the commission of a crime.