'Ugly Betty' actor charged in mom's sword killing
Relatives say Michael Brea was 'not well' in moments leading to slaying
By COLLEEN LONG
Story: 'Ugly Betty' actor: I 'killed demon' inside mom
Days after Michael Brea was arrested for decapitating his mother with a samurai sword Tuesday, the one-time "Ugly Betty" actor has opened up about how the chilling slaying unfolded.
"I didn't kill her. I killed the demon inside her," Michael, 31, told the New York Daily News from the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital. "It was the work of God."
Before slaying his 55-year-old mother, Yannick Brea, Michael claims he had several visions that left him no other choice.
"I was sleeping in my bedroom. God came above my bed and reached his arm to me," he remembered. "I said, 'God, is my time on earth over?' I heard a voice say, 'Yes Michael, today is your last day.'"
Keeping the dream to himself, Michael says he was given another sign when a man put a curse on him at the Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Harlem, which he'd joined a week earlier.
"[He] kept trying to put something in my hand but wouldn't show it to me. I kept opening my hand. It was a Freemason pin. I wouldn't touch it," he said.
While riding the subway train to Brooklyn, Michael said strangers began approaching him to speak about his mother.
"I felt like Neo from 'The Matrix.' I began hearing voices and feeling powerful," Michael said. "They were asking about the difference between mom and mother. It was a sign."
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.