A high school valedictorian was charged with beating his mother to death with a baseball bat in the early morning hours before his scheduled graduation Saturday.

William Shrubsall, 17, was charged with murder after he confessed to killing his mother, Marge Shrubsall, 56, said police Detective John Donner.The teenager was to deliver the valedictory speech to classmates at Niagara Falls LaSalle High School later Saturday but instead was in city jail awaiting arraignment Monday.

Shrubsall called police to the house where he and his mother lived shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday, telling them someone had broken in and injured his mother, Donner said.

Shrubsall confessed to the killing during questioning at the police department, Donner said.

"There were family problems for a length of time," said Donner. "They had a fight . . . He just lost it, I guess."