Jayant Kadian felt like his mother wouldn't get off his back. The 20-year-old Great Falls resident told a Fairfax County detective that the tension between them escalated after he was arrested in connection with marijuana possession a third time.

Kadian was living with his parents on Thompson Ridge Court, having dropped out of two colleges. Then on March 24, three days after his latest drug arrest, his mother, Kiran V. Kadian, told him she wanted him to see a psychiatrist, he told police. An appointment was set for that afternoon.

"He was not too pleased," Detective David Allen said Jayant Kadian told him the next day. "He said at that point, he picked up a butcher knife out of the butcher block, and he said, 'I . . . axed her. It was weird.' "

At Kadian's preliminary hearing on a murder charge yesterday, Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said Kadian stabbed or slashed his mother 23 times in the neck and seven times elsewhere on her body. Kadian, 52, lay dead in her kitchen when her husband, noted Indian author Rajesh Kadian, found her that afternoon when the two didn't appear for the psychiatrist's appointment.

Jayant Kadian was arrested the next day and allegedly told Allen that he killed his mother.

After hearing the testimony, Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Charles J. Maxfield sent the murder case on to the grand jury for possible indictment. Horan said the grand jury would hear the case Monday.

Kiran Kadian was a mother of three, with two older daughters who had completed college and launched their careers. Rajesh Kadian is a gastroenterologist who moved his family to Great Falls in 1992 and is a widely recognized expert on the political and military strategies of India.

Jayant Kadian graduated from Langley High School and coached youth basketball in the Great Falls area. But he dropped out of James Madison University after three semesters and told Allen that he recently had dropped out of Blue Ridge Community College as well.

After Rajesh Kadian discovered his wife's body, he immediately advised investigators that his missing son had psychotic tendencies and had threatened his mother, according to court records. Police publicly denied that Jayant Kadian was a suspect but in truth were searching for him.

He was discovered sleeping in his car on the James Madison campus, in Harrisonburg, Va., the next morning. Allen and another detective drove to Harrisonburg immediately.

The detective said he asked Kadian if he knew why the Fairfax investigators were there. "Yeah, because I stabbed my mom in the neck," Allen said Kadian told him.

He said after the brief conversation with his mother about going to a psychiatrist, he stabbed her once from behind and she dropped to the floor, Allen said. "I wanted to kill my mother real quick," Allen quoted Kadian as saying. "I did my best to make it quick."

Kadian apparently slashed his own palm in the frenzy, Allen said, and put a bandage on his hand. He told Allen that he washed the knife and placed it in the dining room, put on a fleece pullover and some shoes, and went for a drive. At one point, he returned to the neighborhood, Allen said, but "he wasn't ready to get caught" and drove to Harrisonburg.

Kadian's father hired veteran Fairfax defense lawyer Peter D. Greenspun to represent his son in the slaying of his wife. Greenspun asked Allen about Kadian's manner and tone as he spoke about the killing. "It was flat," Allen said, without any highs or lows.

Allen said he did not ask Kadian why he stabbed his mother, beyond Kadian's claim that she "was riding me." Allen noted that Kadian "said he was definitely sorry for what had happened."

Greenspun said: "It's a very, very sad situation. We're looking to get Jay the best help available."

Jayant Kadian, 20, is charged with killing his mother March 24.