A 19-year-old having a seizure suddenly attacked his mother, beating her to death while crying and begging her not to die, prosecutors and his lawyer said.
Henry Wachtel was being held without bail on a murder charge Wednesday.
The day before, schoolteacher Karyn Kay called 911 to say her son was having a seizure and needed help. Prosecutors said Wachtel then suddenly attacked her. The emergency operator heard grunting, screams and wails from the woman and screams from the son, according to court papers.
"Mommy, mommy please don't die," Wachtel shrieked, according to court papers.
Wachtel has epilepsy, and his lawyer said he had been on several medications.
"Sometimes there are unforeseen consequences to medication" -- or to not taking it -- for epileptics, the lawyer, Lloyd Epstein, said.
Police arrived to find a wild-eyed Wachtel covered in blood, according to prosecutors.
His mother was unconscious, in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. She had suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and internal bleeding, authorities said. Kay, 63, was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The medical examiner ruled Wednesday that Kay had died from blunt impact injuries to her head and torso.
Wachtel told detectives it was a mistake, according to court papers. There was no indication he used a weapon.
The Fordham University freshman appeared in Manhattan court Wednesday in a Chicago Bears jersey over a black T-shirt and jeans and stood quietly through the arraignment, but was visibly upset.
"His mother died under tragic circumstances," Epstein said. "He's very upset."
Wachtel's father was in court but did not comment.
Wachtel and his mother "in general, probably had a pretty good relationship," the attorney said. As for reports that neighbors had heard them fighting in the past, "I don't think I've ever run into a situation where a teenager and his mother did not argue."
Kay was a writing teacher at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. She is also listed as a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She wrote and produced the feature film, "Call Me."
Her students remembered her as a giving and gifted teacher.
"She took her time out to help me because she cared," La Guardia High School senior Alessandra Rao told the Daily News.
"She was a beautiful woman inside and out," Rao said. "Ms. Kay believed in all of us -- she found beauty in so many of our pieces and truly made each one of us feel special."
Epstein asked a judge to hospitalize Wachtel given the unpredictable nature of his epilepsy, but the judge left the decision up to jail officials.