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Babylon man stabbed mother more than 20 times, prosecutor says

Joseph Kearns, who was arrested and charged in

Joseph Kearns, who was arrested and charged in the stabbing death of his mother, leaves the Third Precinct in Bay Shore Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

A Babylon man accused of killing his mother earlier this month, stabbed the 79-year-old woman more than 20 times in the torso, a Suffolk County prosecutor told a judge Tuesday at the man's arraignment.

Joseph Kearns, 33, also charged with stabbing his sister, Kathleen, 59, at the home where the three lived, said little during the hearing in state Supreme Court in Riverhead. His attorney, Thomas Foy of Lake Grove, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro ordered Kearns held without bail on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. Another judge made the same ruling at Kearns' first arraignment in Central Islip District Court the day after the Sept. 12 attack. His next court date is Nov. 7.

Kearns' calm court demeanor Tuesday was a marked change from his first court appearance. He made several outbursts during that Sept. 13 hearing and interrupted Judge Paul M. Hensley several times.

At that hearing, Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl said Kearns admitted to police he stabbed his mother and sister.

In court Tuesday, Foy told Ambro his client has had a "psychiatric history" since his youth.

"He should be receiving medication," Foy told Ambro.

Kearns told Ambro he was on daily medication and was seeing a psychiatrist.

He was arrested the day of the stabbings, a few blocks from his Livingston Avenue home. His mother, Mina Kearns, was later pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, authorities said.

Kathleen Kearns, his sister, sustained stab wounds to her front and back torso but survived. She was in critical condition after the attacks but is now stable, prosecutors said Tuesday.

In an interview, Foy said his client's mental health history includes depression and anxiety.

Neighbors have said Kearns was one of two young brothers adopted by Mina Kearns and her husband Joseph more than 30 years ago.

Two of Kearns' brothers who attended yesterday's hearing declined to comment afterward.

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