STAMFORD, Conn. — Authorities face a dilemma as they consider whether a man accused of stabbing his mother should face a homicide charge after she refused a blood transfusion on religious grounds, prosecutors said.
Carol Ferenz, 63, was stabbed multiple times in the chest and arm with a household knife in her home at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
Ferenz was taken to Greenwich Hospital and later to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., for treatment. She died at 12:20 a.m. Thursday, police said.
Her 42-year-old son, Stephen M. Ferenz, who lived in the same house, was arrested 12 hours later, police said. He was charged with two counts of first-degree assault of a person over 60.
Ferenz was held on $1 million bond and was arraigned Friday in Superior Court in Stamford. Probable cause was found to try him on the assault charges, authorities said.
Carol Ferenz, a Jehovah’s Witness, apparently rejected a blood transfusion on religious grounds, prosecutor Jim Bernardi said. Authorities held off on upgrading the charges to homicide while they await medical records to determine whether the decision to not take a transfusion played a central role in her death.
“We’ll probably have to speak to the doctors,” Bernardi said. “She indicated both to the medical technicians and at the hospital that before receiving a blood transfusion she had to check with the elders of her faith.”
Bernardi declined to comment on what happened next.
Andrew Ferenz, who identified himself as the husband of the victim, confirmed that his wife turned down a transfusion.
“She looked the doctor in the eye and said ‘no transfusion, no blood,’ ” Ferenz said Friday.
Police said they filed the assault charges because the medical examiner has not classified the death, including whether it was a homicide. The Westchester County Medical Examiner said her death was caused by blood loss due to stab wounds, police said.
Bernardi declined to comment on a motive. Police said they had been called to the house many times.
“There was a history of psychiatric disability on the part of her son,” Bernardi said, adding that he suffers from bipolar disorder.
Andrew Ferenz said his son has been on medication for 25 years.
“When he does go off of it, he can’t control himself,” Ferenz said. This is the only time he got violent.”
Ferenz said “no way” should his son be charged with homicide.
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Ferenz said. “He needs help.”