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Manhattan Teacher's Son Arraigned On Murder Charges

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A 19-year-old man was arraigned on second-degree murder charges Thursday after police say he fatally beat his mother, a LaGuardia High School English teacher, inside their Manhattan apartment the night before.

Henry Wachtel, 19, seen above, was remanded without bail and is due back in court on Monday.

Police say his mother, Karyn Kay, 63, died Tuesday night just hours after calling 911 to say she was being assaulted.

Investigators say police arrived at the apartment located at 300 West 55th Street around 9:30 p.m.

Once inside, they found Kay with severe head trauma.


The criminal complaint reveals Kay gave a 911 call in which she said her son was assaulting her.

The complaint says Kay screamed, "He's coming after me."

A male was screaming and crying, "Mommy, please don't die."

Neighbors say Wachtel, who was allegedly having a seizure during the attack, was taken from the apartment covered in blood, saying he "didn't mean it."

Wachtel's lawyer, Lloyd Epstein, said his client will plead not guilty and blamed the incident on medication.

"We all know this is a tragic circumstance, and we all know that heavy medications are involved in this," Epstein said. "Mr. Wachtel is an epileptic, takes medication and sometimes there are unforeseen consequences of the medication."

Kay's fitness instructor said Wachtel suffered from seizures and Kay was worried he had started to become angrier.

"She was a lovely mother, staying up to help her son when he was having seizures and episodes and sometimes she would come to class and look exhausted. She would say I had a rough night last night. I had to stay up for my son to help him," said the victim's friend, Irena Meletiou.

"It's been a very volatile relationship since he was a young, young boy, and she would scream and yell and say terrible things. Furniture would be flying, and it was just a very sad situation," said neighbor Leigh Miller.

On the website RateMyTeacher.com, former students praised Kay and mourned her death Wednesday saying, "You literally gave me the courage to go on after my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's..." and "She was the kind of teacher that one prays for -- committed, enthusiastic, patient, kind..."

The school said grief counselors will be on hand when the school reopens Monday after the break.

Kay's influence as a teacher extended to Pratt Institute, where she was a former visiting instructor in the department of humanities.

The provost says the school is deeply saddened by news of her death.

Kay, who was also a writer and filmmaker, wrote and produced the 1988 film "Call Me," starring Steve Buscemi.

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