A board refused Wednesday to approve parole for a Lexington man who swore he didn’t mean to stab his boyfriend “so many times.”
Matthew Patrick Donaghy, 22, spoke with two parole board members by video conference Wednesday morning from the Fayette County jail. He told the board members that he’d acted in self defense when he stabbed Todd Schumacher, 40, to death in January 2015 in their house on Lamont Drive.
Donaghy was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in July and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He has served about one year and 10 months of his sentence.
The board members deliberated briefly before telling Donaghy that, because of the the violence of the crime, they would not grant him parole and would defer his next parole review for 24 months, the maximum amount of time possible.
During the hearing, Donaghy told parole board members that Schumacher had beaten him periodically for two years before the stabbing.
“The night I was charged with murder, I had finally built up the courage to tell him I was going to leave him,” Donaghy said. “In retaliation, this man came home and he legitimately tried to kill me.”
Schumacher’s family said during a meeting with the parole board Monday that he never touched Donaghy in violence. Donaghy’s injuries on the night of the attack were self-inflicted, a prosecutor said.
During the trial, prosecutors asked Donaghy how stabbing Schumacher 19 times in the back, and more than 80 times total, was self-defense.
“I swear to God, I did not mean to stab him so many times,” Donaghy said in the hearing Wednesday. “But in the process of trying to stop him from killing me, something just happened to me psychologically from being battered and beaten so long.”
Donaghy asked that he be given parole so he could fix his life while he’s young. He mentioned that he wanted to work toward a business management degree and get therapy.
“I think I should be given a chance because, keep in mind, for a year and a half I was charged with murder,” Donaghy said. “I didn’t know if I was going to have to spend the rest of my life in prison or not and, I’ll be honest, that’s a very, very scary thing to live with.”
Donaghy said he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The prolonged threat of life in prison made him realize how precious life is, Donaghy added.
Parole board member George Carson asked Donaghy if he was equating his emotional trauma to “the reality of death for your victim.”
“The fear of being convicted of murder was unsettling for you. You think because you had to go through that you are deserving of parole today,” Carson said. “As opposed to Mr. Schumacher, who went through the pain and the suffering of the 86 stab wounds that you inflicted upon his person to death. Think about that.”
Schumacher’s dog, Monroe, went missing about a week before the stabbing. The parole board asked Wednesday whether Donaghy knew what happened to the dog.
“I didn’t kill this dog; I have no idea what happened to the dog,” Donaghy said. “I know that the media and everybody wants to make it seem like I had something to do with killing that dog and I didn’t.”
“I asked you if you knew what happened to Monroe,” parole board member Larry Brock said. “I don’t think Monroe has turned up dead. How do you know he’s been killed?”
Donaghy said he’d read in a newspaper and seen on television news that Schumacher’s sister thinks he killed the dog.
The parole board members also asked Donaghy to explain an animal-cruelty charge involving Monroe that had been filed several months before the dog went missing. During the trial, jurors weren’t allowed to hear about the animal cruelty charge.
Donaghy said the charge stemmed from a day last September when Schumacher was “holding me captive inside of the house.”
Donaghy said he had grabbed the dog and threatened to put him in the oven if Schumacher didn’t let him leave.
“I know it sounds psychotic and crazy, but I didn’t actually put his dog in the oven,” Donaghy said. “I was standing there telling him I was going to do this; that way he would let me leave the house.”
According to court files, the dog was put into an oven and suffered multiple burns.
Schumacher’s sister, Amy Schumacher, told the parole board Monday that she found her brother’s body. The family told the board that the case of animal mistreatment against Donaghy showed that there had been an escalation leading up to Schumacher’s death.
The family said justice had not been served in this case and begged them to keep Donaghy jailed.