The man accused of stabbing his mother to death in their Center Moriches home told Suffolk County police that he had killed her, a Suffolk County prosecutor said Tuesday during a makeshift arraignment at Stony Brook Medical Center.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said Christopher Storm Harrison, 26, initially said that his mother, Joyce Skarka, 53, had attacked him with a knife Friday. Harrison changed his story soon after, acknowledging that he had killed his mother during a domestic dispute in their Union Avenue home.
Harrison was hospitalized after he was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder. Suffolk County District Judge Chris Ann Kelley ordered Harrison held without bail on Tuesday.
Harrison’s attorney, Robert Del Col of Bay Shore, entered a plea of not guilty during the arraignment in a small, windowless room in the hospital. Harrison, dressed in a pale-blue hospital gown, showed no emotion as he sat in a wheelchair and spoke only briefly with Del Col during the short hearing.
“He’s obviously a very, very sick individual who needs to be treated,” Del Col said after the hearing. “At this point in time, I have serious doubts about his capacity to help with his defense.”
Newcombe said Harrison approached two Suffolk County police officers working at a Center Moriches substation Friday and told them he had a fight with his mother and that she was dead.
Police found Skarka’s body in the tub of a bathroom off the master bedroom, Newcombe said. Investigators believe Skarka was attacked in the dining room/kitchen area and her body was dragged to the bathtub. Skarka’s sweatshirt had been pulled over her head, the prosecutor said.
Police found sheets and towels soaked with gasoline or kerosene in the tub, Newcombe said.
Del Col and Harrison’s attending physician at Stony Brook, Poonamdeep Gill, opposed opening the hearing to the media because they feared confidential information about Harrison’s health would be discussed during the hearing. Kelley barred a News 12 cameraman and Newsday photographer from the hearing but allowed two reporters to attend.