Felony charges were filed Wednesday against a South Lake Tahoe man after his mother, whom he is accused of knocking off a 4-foot-high balcony, slipped into a coma.
James Mickelson, 27, originally pleaded no contest Monday to misdemeanor battery in connection with the incident on Sunday at his mother's Gardnerville residence.
"It's the state's assertion that the victim " your mother " was injured far more seriously than originally thought. She was taken to Reno by Careflight. She may still be unconscious. Her skull may be fractured," said East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl.
The district attorney's office dismissed the misdemeanor and filed a felony charge against Mickelson.
"Since that got charged, additional facts came to light that we believe raise this to a much higher offense," said prosecutor Erik Levin.
EnEarl appointed Kris Brown to represent Mickelson and ordered him back to court Nov. 19.
He is in Douglas County Jail on $5,000 cash bail.
Mickelson was charged with battery by a probationer or parolee. He was on probation out of El Dorado County.
He denied he was responsible for his mother's coma, but EnEarl advised him to make no statements without a lawyer.
Witnesses told Douglas County deputies they could hear Mickelson and his mother arguing. He allegedly choked her and dragged her outside where they broke through a protective railing and fell 4 feet.
Deputies said the victim was bleeding profusely from the head. When they interviewed her, she was conscious but incoherent, according to reports.
She was taken by medical helicopter to Renown Regional Medical Center. Mickelson allegedly fled the scene but was apprehended at a nearby parking lot.