Fayette County

Lexington man avoids murder verdict in stabbing death of boyfriend

Todd Schumacher, left, and Matthew P. Donaghy.
Todd Schumacher, left, and Matthew P. Donaghy. Photos provided

A Fayette Circuit Court jury on Thursday found Matthew Patrick Donaghy guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of his boyfriend, Todd Shumacher.

Donaghy, 22, of Lexington, was convicted after the jury deliberated for more than seven hours.

Shumacher, 40, was found dead at their Lamont Drive home in January 2015.

The jury recommended a sentence of 10 years in prison, the maximum for the offense. Judge Pamela Goodwine scheduled formal sentencing for Aug. 26.

Earlier Thursday, Donaghy told jurors that he’d acted in self-defense.

Donaghy admitted that he stabbed Shumacher to death, but he said Shumacher had beaten and choked him first.

Donaghy also testified that after killing Shumacher, he’d tried to kill himself by overdosing on sleeping pills.

During Donaghy’s testimony, prosecutor Dan Laren asked him why he initially told investigators someone broke in and killed Shumacher. He also asked why Donaghy never called 911 for help after Shumacher quit fighting back.

“In my mind I’m not thinking whether there’s justification to this or not, I’m just thinking, ‘I just killed my boyfriend,’ that’s the only thing that’s going through my mind,” Donaghy said. “So, no. I didn’t want to tell anybody.”

The initial story of the intruders was just something that was “coming to my head ... It didn’t even make sense,” Donaghy said.

During the prosecution’s closing arguments, Laren said there was no question of whether Donaghy committed murder.

“It is uncontested that Matthew Donaghy ended Todd Shumacher’s life by stabbing him with a knife until he bled enough to die,” Laren said. “So the question becomes, was he justified in his use of deadly force against Todd Shumacher? Did he act in self-defense, in other words did Todd Shumacher deserve to die? The answer is a resounding no.”

Donaghy testified that he stabbed Shumacher after being beaten and choked. Laren argued that the only wounds documented on Donaghy at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital were self-inflicted cuts on his arm.

Laren went on to say that the 19 stab wounds found on Shumacher’s back were not consistent with self-defense.

Donaghy’s defense attorney, Greg Coulson, said the amount of stab wounds can be explained by a long fight that occurred, ranging throughout the house where Shumacher died.

“This isn’t Game of Thrones, this isn’t Lawrence of Arabia. There’s no one stab wound that does us in,” Coulson said. “These two men fought to the bitter end and it was violent.”

After four days of testimony, presentations of evidence and a virtual tour of the blood-soaked crime scene, jurors began deliberating at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.