Michael Brea, an aspiring Haitian-American actor whose most widely publicized role was a walk-on in the TV series Ugly Betty, is reported to have slashed his mother to death with a sword on Tuesday, November 23, after attending a Masonic Lodge meeting in Harlem.
In an interview the NY Daily News managed to score inside Bellevue's prison ward, Brea describes the killing as having been inspired by the Matrix films. He identified with the character Neo (doesn't everyone?).
During the attack, neighbors heard him chanting "Repent! Repent! Repent!," and other commands involving accepting Jesus, and referring to "The Grand Architect," a Masonic term for God.
Neighbors say the NYPD were slow to respond: they came while the attack was under way, stood around, refused to break down the door of the apartment where the attack took place until it was too late—even leaving the scene of the crime, then returning when Brea's mother Yannick was finally dead.
"I didn't kill her. I killed the demon inside her. It was the work of God," he says in the NY Daily News interview.
More today in the New York Times. Michael Brea's twin brother lived in the home where Brea reportedly killed their mother, as did Michael, but the brother was not home at the time.
According to reports, Brea was a failed Subway sandwich shop owner, and owed the franchise (and the state tax board, and various creditors) tens of thousands of dollars. There is some speculation that "money woes" were a contributing factor (though, heaven help us all if that becomes a defense in this economy…)
From a profile on befim.com, described as a "Haitian Internet Movie Database"—
"Growing up, my father used to tell me these great stories about Haiti and how we gained our independence in 1804. I am fascinated and proud to be Haitian-American. Which is the reason why I made it into film! I want my fellow American brothers and sisters to know the history of Haiti. I want to report the history of both worlds (Haiti and America) through film."
In 2007, Michael L Brea opened a "Subway" restaurant located at 1709 Broadway Brooklyn N.Y 11207. His objective was to provide A healthier choice and to contribute to the development of urban communities. Giving out over 300 turkey footlong sandwiches on Thanksgiving of 2008, was an act no other subway has ever done!
"I remember growing up," Michael says, "and my mother was always feeding people who were less fortunate. My parents raised me to always share and to give charity in the name of GOD!"
Brea's father is reported to also be a Freemason. I'm seeing responses on a number of (unofficial) Freemasonry blogs seeking to distance the centuries-old organization from the attack—one early news report I can't seem to find right now quoted one Mason as saying that the Harlem lodge Brea attended wasn't officially sanctioned.
I'll be interested to see if there's some sort of official response from some quarter of the group. No, not all Masons are delusional, psychotic murderers. Nor are all struggling actors, or fans of the Matrix motion picture series, or Subway sandwich store managers.
There are crime scene photos around if one wants to Google them, including the bloody murder weapon described variously as a "ritual Masonic sword" and "a martial arts sword." I'd recommend the NMA video instead of the gruesome photos, though they're equally creepy now that I think about it.