NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Michael Brea, the "Ugly Betty" actor accused of brutally killing his mother with a samurai sword, was described as a "quiet man" who admired his mother, according to neighbors and relatives who spoke to the New York Daily News.
The 31-year-old Brea was arrested on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon Tuesday after stabbing his mother to death with a 3-foot sword in her home after a fight, police said.
Relatives and neighbors were shocked.
"The boy is a quiet man," Brea's uncle, Martial Brea, told the Daily News. "He's very smart. He's had a good life. He made money easily. He's in the movies. It's something that's impossible to believe. I would believe someone else [did it], but not him."
Officers responding to a call of a family dispute found 55-year-old Yannick Brea kneeling in the bathroom of her Brooklyn apartment at about 2:20 a.m. She had cuts to her head and was pronounced dead at the scene, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
"In a bedroom was her son...with a 3-foot sword," Kelly said.
Brea reportedly shouted Bible verses during the violent attack.
Brea lived with his mother and twin brother in the Brooklyn apartment where the grisly crime took place. Neighbors told the Daily News that they were regular churchgoers when they were younger and said they witnessed no family problems.
"His mother raised [Michael] to be loving," neighbor Vernal Bent told the newspaper. "She was a wonderful mother. She was always cooking black beans and Creole food. On New Year's [Day], she made this traditional soup that was amazing."
Brea has no prior arrests, and Commissioner Kelly was not sure if he had a psychiatric history. No previous domestic violence incidents had been reported at the home, police said.
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.
According to the Daily News, he used to own a Subway sandwich franchise in Brooklyn and was known to give away free turkeys on Thanksgiving.
Brea told the Haitian film website BelFim.com last year that his mom taught him generosity.
"I remember growing up and my mother was always feeding people who were less fortunate," he said.