The teenage son of an author was charged with murder on Tuesday night for savagely beating her to death with his fists, according to police.
Karyn Kay, 63, died hours after calling police to tell them her 19-year-old son, Henry Wachtel, was hitting her.
After responding to an emergency call, police found Kay lying in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor with a fractured skull, broken eye socket and broken ribs.
It is believed that Wachtel, who was found covered in blood, did not use a weapon in the deadly attack.
Kay, who taught English-writing at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, allegedly called police at 9.30am this morning as she tried to help Wachtel, who was suffering from a seizure.
A police source said that Kay was heard screaming during the 911 call as her son allegedly began pummeling her.
‘He was screaming, “I’m sorry mommy! I’m sorry mommy!” over and over and over,’ one neighbor told the New York Daily News. ‘Then suddenly it all stopped.’
300 West 55th Street: Police found Kay lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of her Manhattan apartment
Police found the writer unconscious and rushed her to the Cornell University medical center, where she was pronounced dead at 1:52 pm.
Wachtel, who is a student at Fordham University and is thought to have health problems, was led away from the apartment in handcuffs.
Witnesses described him repeatedly apologising to his unconscious mother and ‘wailing and crying’ as he was taken away by police.
A porter in the apartment building told the New York Post, ‘[The son] lived here since he was a little boy. He was a nice young guy. Very energetic … I’ve known him since he was a little boy. I don’t know what happened.’
The motive for the killing remains unclear.
Kay, who was also a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, wrote the 1988 film Call Me – a murder mystery starring Steve Buscemi.
Students from LaGuardia paid tribute to their former teacher.
‘She was a beautiful woman inside and out,’ Alexandra Rao told Daily News. ‘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.’
According to her biography on the Pratt Institute website Kay was also a filmmaker who was working on a documentary about children with learning disabilities.