Manhattan prosecutors have charged Henry Wachtel with the murder of his mother, high school English teacher Karyn Kay. The teen is accused of pummeling Kay to death on Tuesday morning, an event that was recorded by 911 operators.
Kay called emergency services when she realized her son had a seizure. When the seizure ended, he allegedly began beating her with her fists. Unconscious and bloody, she died hours later at a local hospital.
Neighbors say Wachtel could be heard screaming, "I'm sorry mommy!" over and over as an ambulance took her way.
Sources suggest that Henry Wachtel had long suffered from health problems. He was known to have seizures, and the New York Daily News reports that Karyn Kay had recently told a friend that she was concerned about his anger.
Anger and violence have long been associated with seizures. Epileptic individual often have issues with impulse control and other cognitive impairments. They also have a higher incidence of Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Some studies also suggest that the seizures themselves can cause an individual to turn violent.
A good Manhattan criminal attorney will have Wachtel evaluated for symptoms of these disorders before the case ever gets to trial. If his seizures and any related mental health issues contributed to his actions, prosecutors may be forced to lower the charges.
Henry Wachtel, however, is unlikely to go free. He seems to have been aware that his actions were wrong, which means he may only be able to argue diminished capacity. Prosecutors will probably insist that he spend at least some time in a state psychiatric facility for the murder of his mother, Karyn Kay.