Man pleads guilty to murdering mother, but judge rejects his plea

Christopher John Shumey
Christopher John Shumey

During an arraignment Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo man accused of shooting his mother to death told a judge he wanted to plead guilty.

Christopher John Shumey, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges of murder and assault with a firearm against a policeman. But San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy rejected the plea, saying he had been advised by the attorneys handling the case that Shumey had a mental health history and wanted to examine the facts of the case and Shumey’s background first.

Defense attorney Pierre Blahnik told Duffy that he would not join in on the guilty plea and had advised his client that the court likely would not, either.

“These are very serious charges, and I’m not going to accept that plea at this time,” Duffy said to Shumey.

Duffy encouraged Shumey to continue discussing his case with his attorney.

“Give it a little bit of time and see what happens,” Duffy said.

Duffy entered a not-guilty plea to the charges and set a pre-preliminary hearing for mid-October.

“If at that point you are still wanting a guilty plea, the court will keep an open mind,” Duffy said.

Shumey, handcuffed and clad in a jail-issued jumpsuit, appeared alert and responsive — even asking the judge if he had a choice as to not delay the pre-preliminary hearing as requested by his attorney.

Shumey was arrested Sept. 17 after he allegedly fired a shotgun at police at his home on Beach Street.

Police arrived at the scene to find 65-year-old Arroyo Grande resident Karen Shumey, the suspect’s mother, shot to death.

According to authorities, the incident began after Karen Shumey visited her son and they had an argument. When she returned about 2:30 p.m., Christopher Shumey allegedly shot and killed her on the upstairs landing outside the front door.

Shumey is being held without bail at County Jail.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.