• The man admitted to beating his 84-year-old mother-in-law over the course of two days
  • He told police he was "sleep-deprived" from caring for both his husband and the man's mother and has "a bad temper"
  • The man told police that his husband had nothing to do with the beating and was begging him to stop

A 58-year-old man in Essex County, New Jersey, has been arrested and charged with murder after beating to death his elderly mother-in-law over the course of two days.

James Pica, who is married to the victim's son, was taken into custody at his home in the town of Nutley Tuesday after he called 911 to report that he had killed 84-year-old Barbara Bezzone, reported, citing an affidavit of probable cause filed by police in support of the murder charge.

Pica confessed to the killing, which he blamed on being "sleep-deprived" from caring for both his husband, whose name was not disclosed, and the man's mother and on having "a bad temper," according to the affidavit.

Pica called 911 Tuesday night and reported that he had killed his mother-in-law and that her body was on the floor in the living room, the affidavit said.

Responding officers found Pica sitting on the porch with noticeable injuries to his hands, police said.

When they went inside the Prospect Street home Pica shared with his mother-in-law and his husband, authorities found a woman with bruises on her face, head and body. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, the affidavit stated.

Pica told police that he lived in the house with his husband and his mother-in-law and that he had been taking care of both of them. It was not clear why his husband required assistance.

“(Pica) said he was sleep-deprived from being the sole caretaker and that he had a bad temper,” the affidavit said.

Pica admitted to hitting the woman in the head and body. He also told police that he kicked his mother-in-law in the head when she fell to the floor, according to authorities.

According to the affidavit, Pica said that he first hit the victim Monday and that she had some bruises from the assault. He told authorities that he continued hitting her Tuesday.

Pica told authorities that his husband had nothing to do with the beating and “was begging him to stop and call the police,” according to the affidavit.

Pica was charged with first-degree murder, and the death remains under investigation. Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the prosecutor’s office’s tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

Pica is now being held in Essex County Jail without bond, the Daily Mail reported.

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