NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Michael Brea, the actor accused of decapitating his mother with a Masonic ceremonial sword, was arraigned from a New York City hospital prison ward Friday on charges of second-degree murder.
The 31-year-old actor was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon after police found him in the bedroom of the Brooklyn apartment that he shared with his mother and twin brother, with a 3-foot sword.
According to police, Brea believed his church-going mother, Yannick, was being possessed by the devil. Neighbors told CBS affiliate WCBS that they heard Brea screaming Bible verses and saying "repent" as he apparently chased his mother through the home.
The 55-year-old woman was found by authorities, butchered to death in their blood-spattered bathroom Nov. 23.
Brea, dressed in a light green gown, remained silent during the arraignment and did not enter a plea from the hospital prison ward where he has been under evaluation since his arrest.
Relatives issued a statement after Yanick Brea's death expressing their support for her son, whom they called "a compassionate, gentle, intelligent, spiritual and loving man" in need of help.
"His family and friends know, without question, that Michael was not well in the moments leading to (his mother's) death," the family said.
On the day of the gruesome attack Brea said a man approached him and tried to put a curse on him, and then strangers started speaking to him about his mother while he rode the subway to the their apartment, reports the New York Daily News. When interviewed by the newspaper, Brea claimed that he had been living in a private world full of black magic and Masonic symbolism that led to the attack.
"I felt like Neo from 'The Matrix.' I began hearing voices and feeling power...It was a sign," he told the Daily News.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Brea has no prior arrests and was not sure if he had a psychiatric history. No previous domestic violence incidents had been reported at the home, police said.
Brea's mother was a hotel worker who survived the 9/11 attacks, neighbors told the Daily News.
Brea, a Haitian American actor who had small roles in ABC's now-canceled show "Ugly Betty" and the movie "Step Up 3D," was also a local businessman with a kind spirit.
He was being held without bail and was undergoing psychiatric evaluation. His next court appearance was scheduled for Dec. 18.