A New York man who was able to avoid prison after killing his mother filed a lawsuit looking for compensation.
In October 2014, Henry Wachtel was acquitted of charges against him in the April 2012 death of his mother because of the fact that he was having a seizure when the killing occurred. His mother, teacher Karyn Kay, died after her son hit her over 100 times, leading to broken ribs, a fractured skull and internal bleeding. Wachtel was 19 at the time.
When officers arrived to the scene, Wachtel was described as "wild-eyed" and he claimed to have no memory of the attack.
Wachtel is currently being held by the New York State Office of Mental Health and will face a court hearing to determine if he has a "dangerous mental disorder."
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His lawyer, Judith Weil, said her client is entitled to his mother's life insurance policy as well as other benefits from the New York State Teachers' Retirement System.
The NYSTRS cited New York's "slayer" rule that prevents killers from inheriting money from their victim, but Wachtel's lawyer insisted that it doesn't apply to her client. Attorney Arthur Schwartz, who is not involved in the case, told the New York Post that he disagrees with that notion.
"There have been a few cases where someone ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ has inherited money from a deceased. But the standard of proof for the estate, to show that the killer was aware of what he or she was doing, is lower than the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard in criminal cases," Schwartz said.
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Many readers dismissed Wachtel's version of events and said they couldn't believe that his seizures could have possibly caused him to beat his mother to death.
"Sounds like someone is setting up their defense ahead of time for the next time they have an uncontrollable seizure and accidentally beat the he11 out of someone. Oops, it wadn't me, it was the epilepsy what did it!" one Daily Mail reader commented.
One reader, however, defended the young man and said that some seizures actually can cause violent behavior:
I have epilepsy and you all need to shut up as not one you have any clue what you are talking about. The seizure induced haze can last for hours and makes people very violent. 6 years ago I broke an EMT's nose with a head butt coming out of a seizure. They called the police for back up. They showed up around 10 minutes later. That is a minimum of 25 minutes and I am still out of it. Not one memory. I went 3 years without one. I drove off of a freeway 3 years ago in a remote area. I tried to fight everyone who stopped to help.
It took the cops 25 minutes to make it to the scene. I tried to take on 5 cops. It took 5 shots from a taser to bring me down. It took another 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. They had to cuff both of my legs and arms to the gurney. Then I just snap out it and have not one memory of what just happened. I have never been charged because they are medical emergency. You all need to shut up until you know what you're talking about.