Karyn Kay: Son charged in murder of LaGuardia teacher (UPDATED)


The lawyer for a 19-year-old man who is accused of beating his mother to death is blaming the gruesome incident on his client’s epilepsy medication.

“It’s a very tragic incident,” defense attorney Lloyd Epstein said today, according to the New York Daily News. “Everyone knows that Henry is an epileptic and that sometimes with medications unexpected things happen.”

Police announced late last night that Henry Wachtel, 19, was charged with murdering his mother.

Epstein declined to say what type of medication or how much Wachtel was taking. But a police source told the News Wachtel was taking Keppra and Lamictal, two epilepsy medications that can cause aggression.

Karyn Kay, a popular teacher at the elite LaGuardia High School, was found beaten to death at her Midtown apartment yesterday morning.

After getting a 911 call at about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, police said they raced to the West 55th Street apartment to find Kay, 63, lying on the ground with severe head trauma.

Her skull was fractured, as was one of her eye sockets and she had broken ribs, according to reports. She was taken to Cornell Hospital, but pronounced dead upon arrival, said police.

According to the Daily News, Kay and her son lived together and neighbors said the son suffered from an illness.

It was Kay who made the frantic 911 call. She screamed at the operator that her son was beating her while having a seizure, according to reports.

“Help, Help! He’s attacking me!” is what Kay reportedly screamed.

Neighbors told the Daily News they heard shouting coming from inside the 10th-floor apartment yesterday morning.

“He was screaming, ‘I’m sorry, mommy! I’m sorry, mommy!’ over and over
and over,” a neighbor old the News.

When police brought him out, he was covered in blood. Wachtel, a martial arts enthusiast, is accused of beating his mom to death with nothing but his bare hands.

“He kept apologizing to his mother the whole time — he kept saying, ‘I didn’t mean it,’” another neighbor told the News.

Who was Karyn Kay?

Kay is remembered by her students as a beloved educator. She taught English at LaGuardia High School by Lincoln Center and was also a visiting professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Kay was a writer and a filmmaker, as well. She wrote the screenplay for “Call Me,” a 1988 film that starred Steve Buscemi. She is also remembered as a devoted mother who deeply loved her son.

Wachtel is a student at Fordham University, where his father is a
professor. Neighbors said they often heard shouting and fighting coming
from the apartment, and that Kay had said her son was having anger
issues lately.


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