SUGAR NOTCH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — An investigation into a brutal homicide in Luzerne County is revealing harrowing details into the killing.
Police say 60-year-old Patricia Watkins was beaten to death in her Sugar Notch home by her son, 39-year-old Erik Watkins.
Watkins had just moved back in with his mother and brother Friday night. He told police Patricia had taken him to a methadone clinic on Saturday and that he smoked marijuana before falling asleep.
Watkins told officers that he was “hearing voices” when he woke up and that a “higher power” told him to attack his mother.
“It’s hard to believe. It’s just really hard to believe. I am sorry. I just can’t fathom it, I really can’t. I don’t understand why something like this would happen and at this time of year, which is terrible,” Ellen Black, a neighbor of the Watkins family told Eyewitness News.
The community was left in shock after the brutal murder on Maffett Street early Sunday morning.
According to the police affidavit, Patricia’s other son, Jeremy Brodbeck, said he heard a loud bang downstairs. When he went to investigate, he says he saw Erik on top of their mother on the couch beating her face. Brodbeck reported pulling his brother off their mother and attempting to calm him down.
Brodbeck told police the fighting continued inside the home. He said he escaped through a window and called for help.
According to the criminal complaint, Pennsylvania State Police knocked at the home, Erik told them “I know who you are and I know what you want.” That’s when he reportedly screamed “She is dead, my mom is dead, I killed her.”
Patricia’s body was found in a bathtub on the first floor of the home. Police say her face was so severely injured that she was barely recognizable.
According to court papers, Erik Watkins said he blacked out but remembers punching and beating his mother. Neighbors tell Eyewitness News this is a close knit neighborhood up on the hill and it’s always been quiet until this weekend
“This neighborhood is actually really quiet, it’s very shocking that this happened here this is not normally, we’re a very good town,” neighbor Daniel Beseda said.
Erik Watkins has been charged with criminal homicide. He remains in jail without bail.