'Ugly Betty' actor charged in mom's sword killing
Relatives say Michael Brea was 'not well' in moments leading to slaying
By COLLEEN LONG
Wearing a light green gown, Michael Brea did not speak or enter a plea. He was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon after investigators found him in the bedroom of his apartment with a 3-foot sword. His mother, Yanick, was found on her knees, hacked to death in their blood-spattered bathroom Nov. 23.
The attorney who represented him at arraignment did not return a call seeking comment.
The 31-year-old Brea had small roles in ABC's now-canceled show "Ugly Betty" and the movie "Step Up 3D."
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.
He was being held without bail and was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. His next court appearance was set for Dec. 18.
Brea, interviewed last week in the prison ward by the Daily News of New York, said he had been living in a private world filled with Masonic symbolism and black magic that led to the attack. The day of the attack, he said, a man approached and tried to put a curse on him, and then strangers began speaking to him about his mother as he rode a subway to the apartment he shared with her.
"I felt like Neo from 'The Matrix.' I began hearing voices and feeling powerful. ... It was a sign," Brea told the newspaper.
In the 1999 movie, Neo — played by Keanu Reeves — is a computer hacker who comes to realize that his life is an elaborate illusion controlled by malevolent machines. He joins an underground resistance in battling to experience unvarnished reality.