A North County man, accused of beating his 69-year-old mother at her Mira Mesa home, pleaded not guilty in court Friday.
Theodore Guenther, 36, is charged with premeditated attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, and assault with a deadly weapon, among other charges.
Guenther allegedly struck his mother, Cynthia Guenther, more than 30 times in the head with a copper pipe and then walked away to a nearby park.
According to San Diego police, she returned to her home and found her son standing in the front yard who used a hose to spray her with water.
After she told him to take her medication, the son began beating her with two copper pipes. The woman ran inside to call 911 but her son took away her mobile phone.
"Something she said to him set him off, so that he grabbed these large metal pipes and a foot and half long inch, and started beating her in the head with them," said Deputy District Attorney Scott Perrillo.
Police said Guenther struck his mother 25 more times in the head.
Investigators said the woman played dead and Guenther left the home.
At this point, Cynthia Guenther called for help using a house phone and was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.
She is expected to survive.
Guenther was arrested later and booked into jail.
"This is everyone's worst nightmare--when we have again, these elderly abuse dynamics..of the gaps in the system leaving elderly vulnerable people to care for their mentally-ill children, and grandchildren," Perrillo said.
He told NBC 7 Guenther suffers from Schizophrenia.
Cynthia had filed a restraining order against Guenther after he was charged with a domestic abuse case involving her last year. He was supposed to be in a treatment program as part of his probation.
Guenther's bail was set at $1 million.