PROVO A man accused of fatally stabbing his father on Father's Day now faces a charge of aggravated murder.
Michael Kirsch, 31, was arrested June 15 after Elaine Kirsch called police to report that her son and her husband had been arguing. She said her son then brought out a 10-inch meat-carving knife and began attacking his father.
Christopher Kirsch, 62, was stabbed 26 times and died minutes after arriving at the Timpanogos Regional Hospital.
Michael Kirsch appeared in 4th District Court Monday morning to hear charges of aggravated murder and aggravated assault. He asked for a court-appointed public defender.
Judge Samuel McVey agreed, citing Kirsch's incarcerated status and inability to pay.
Kirsch was then whisked out of the courtroom by two Utah County Sheriff's deputies and taken back to the Utah County Jail where he remains on $1 million cash-only bail.
His next hearing will be July 3 at 8:30 a.m.
The aggravated assault charges stem from a cut Elaine Kirsch received when she tried to break up the fight, prosecutors said.
Michael Kirsch has been dealing with schizophrenia for several years, according to court documents, although prosecutors don't know much about his mental health at this point, said deputy
Utah County attorney Julia Thomas.
In 2005, Michael Kirsch pleaded guilty and mentally ill to a charge of aggravated assault with a knife and was sent to the state hospital, then to prison.
He was still on parole when the family altercation occurred.
Detectives and investigators are in contact with the family, although it's a tough situation because they're the family of both the victim and the suspect.
"I don't know that I've seen anything like this," Thomas said. "I think this is a family that was trying to do the best thing for their son."
Michael Kirsch's parents had recently welcomed him back to their home, knowing full well of his violent past. They worried he wasn't getting enough care on his own, said Orem police.
Christopher Kirsch had been an adjunct professor of geography and Latin American history for five years at Utah Valley State College.A memorial fund to help with funeral expenses and to support the Kirsch family has been set up in Christopher Kirsch's name at any Central Bank.