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Judge denies bail for man accused of stabbing parents after chilling 911 call is played in court

Anthony Kaptzan is charged with the second-degree murder of his father Alex Kaptzan and the attempted second-degree murder of his mother Ivette Kaptzan in South Tampa

TAMPA — Before police say Anthony Kaptzan began stabbing his parents, his mother phoned 911 from their South Tampa home.

Her son was pale, sweating, and lethargic. She was concerned for his physical well-being, Ivette Kaptzan told the call-taker.

“He just went very pale and he almost just passed out in the kitchen,” she said in a recorded 911 call played in court Thursday. “He told us he saw his life almost pass before his eyes."

But as she kept talking, she reported that he said he was feeling okay. She was asked if she still wanted paramedics.

“I think I’m going to pass on it for now,” she said. “He’s giving me mixed messages.”

Not a half hour later, she called again.

“My son is having an episode,” she said, before a series of long, guttural screams. “Please send the police!”

Anthony Michael Kaptzan, 21, is charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in a stabbing attack on his parents in their South Tampa home May 21, 2020. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

The calls were the centerpiece of a court hearing Thursday afternoon during which a judge ordered that Kaptzan, 21, be held in jail while he awaits trial. He is accused of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of his father, Alex Kaptzan, and the attempted murder of his mother.

A prosecutor argued that Kaptzan would pose a danger to the community if released.

But Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Beardsley argued that to hold him in jail would be “essentially punishing him for his mental illness.” She said Kaptzan takes medication for anxiety and depression. She also said that he is not in a position to have a conversation about whether he could pay a bond.

“We don’t know at this point what happened or exactly why it happened,” Beardsley said. “But there is absolutely no evidence that the community at large is in danger.”

Related: Son fatally wounded father, injured mother in South Tampa stabbing, records show

Hillsborough Circuit judge Catherine Catlin, while acknowledging that mental illness is likely a factor, noted that if Kaptzan were released, he would be unable to return home.

“I do not ever want to punish someone for a mental health illness,” the judge said. “But if he’s released, he has no place to go and I want to protect the community."

Alex Kaptzan was a senior vice president for convention sales for Visit Tampa Bay, police have said. No family members testified at Thursday’s hearing.

A Tampa detective and police officer testified about their interactions with Anthony Kaptzan after he was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

Officer Mona Noble said that while on assignment at the hospital, she heard a banging noise inside the room where Kaptzan was being held. She entered and found him knocking his head against a metal bed rail and shouting “I want to die.”

“I’m a monster,” she said she heard him say. “I don’t know if my dad’s alive.”

Detective Rachel Cholnik told the court about her attempt to interview Kaptzan. She asked him if he needed an attorney. He said he did.

“I don’t know what attorney to call,” he told the detective. “My dad will know but I stabbed my dad.”