MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – Opening statements started day two in the Steven DeValle attempted murder trial in Marquette, also on the stand today, the victim.
DeValle is charged with four counts, including strangulation and criminal sexual conduct against his ex-girlfriend last july.
Prosecuting attorney Matt Wiese calling his first witness, the victim herself, who we are not naming or showing.
In the prosecution’s opening statement, Prosecutor Matt Wiese told the jury to trust the evidence of those who were on the scene.
He also established for the jury DeValle was unstable and capable of attempting to kill the victim.
“He went from being enraged to being eerily calm and his mood she will tell you went in that way and when he became eerily calm is when she most feared for her life,” Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese said.
In the defense’s opening statement, attorney Ted fulsher told the jury DeValle and the victim were recently in a 15 month relationship, having only just days before gone on a family vacation together.
Fulsher told the jury about DeValle’s recent problems with mental issues, and of the recent switch in medication from Zoloft to Paxil.
“Paxil has numerous side-effects,” Defense Attorney Ted Fulsher said.
Those symptoms include, suicidal tendencies, erratic behavior and amnesia.
After opening statements, Wiese called the victim to the stand as his first witness.
The victim was asked when she saw a change in the defendant.
“I started noticing maybe some anger tendencies and maybe some anxiety tendencies about 1:30AM,” the victim said.
At that time, the victim says she messaged her police officer friend online to drive by and non-threateningly check in on them.
The victim claimed she then dialed in 911, to have it available if she needed to call, before the defendant knocked the phone out of her hand.
The defendant then became immediately concerned.
“He got angry and started making comments, you know, you’re calling the police on me and you know if you do that I’ll lose everything,” the victim said.
Wednesday, testimony from Forsyth Township Police and other medical personnel will be heard.
Steven DeValle trial enters day 4 as defendant takes the stand
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – The Steven DeValle attempted murder trial entered its fourth day on Thursday July 27, with the defense calling a series of witnesses to the stand.
The first witness was Steven DeValle’s step mother. After that, his ex-wife in Illinois then delivered testimony via video conference. Both women claim that DeValle has never had a history of violence or abuse.
“As far as violence, that I know nothing of,” said Amy DeValle, ex-wife of the defendant.
The defense then heard from the officer who found Steven DeValle on the side of the road July 6, 2016, the morning after the incident. The deputy from Delta County said that DeValle seemed depressed and suicidal, it was then that he brought him to Escanaba’s St. Francis hospital.
The defense then submitted into evidence video of DeValle that morning when he was being arrested. In the video, DeValle appears manic, asking what he had done, claiming to have no memory of the incident.
Next, the defense called to the stand pharmacist Tyler Jenema, who said that while the medicine DeValle was taking, Paxil, could change his behavior, it was very unlikely that he would suffer from memory loss because of the medicine.
“The percentages are anywhere from half a percent or a little less, maybe up to one percent we think of patients maybe potentially experience amnesia,” said Jenema.
DeValle himself then took the stand, staying firm to his claim that he suffered from memory loss, even when his stories started to change. His original testimony to Forsyth Officer, Chief Warchock claimed that he had no recollection of the night of July 5, 2016 after 6pm but in court DeValle claimed he remembered events up to 9pm and even 10pm.
DeValle will continue to be examined and cross examined Friday, July 28 as the trial seems to be on track to that afternoon.
So BBC panorama are airing a Panorama investigation tonight into anti-depressant induced violence, and of course, even before the documentary has aired, we have all the pro-SSRI mouthpieces (most notably from the Royal college of Psychiatry UK) coming out en masse to condemn it before it has even been broadcast.
This is no surprise considering the Royal college of psychiatry and most of its members (not just UK psychiatrists but global psychiatrists) have long been in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry. Of course, most of the mainstream media outlets, fail to mention that very significant fact.
However, despite the melodrama, it was interesting to note the position of Mind (the UK’s biggest and most respected mental health charity) who said:
….”Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, said: “Millions of people take SSRIs and other antidepressants and many find them useful in managing their mental health problems. “Side effects from medication can be serious but it’s important to recognise that severe side effects such as those explored in this programme are incredibly rare. “Anyone prescribed medication for a mental health problem should be fully informed about the drug and its side effects so they can make an informed choice about whether it’s the right treatment for them.”…
Stephen Buckley, from Mind, is wise to err on the side of caution, and that is part of what his job entails, however isn’t it interesting that he does not disagree with the findings of the documentary? He says that “severe side effects such as those explored in this programme are incredibly rare“. I agree with him, somewhat, antidepressant induced violent acts are relatively rare, however, anti-depressant induced violent thoughts are perhaps more common than most people realize.
Many people have antidepressant induced violent thoughts and impulses, it’s just Russian Roulette that decides who will act on them, and who won’t..
Seroxat (GSK’s notorious SSRI) causes aggression, akathisia (a feeling of unbearable anxiety), and violent thoughts/dreams/impulses; the whole class of SSRI drugs can cause these reactions. Many tens of thousands of people have been saying this about them for decades. I have experienced these side effects myself, from Seroxat.
There is no disputing this.
Of course, the (owned by the Pharmaceutical industry) Royal College of Psychiatry, and the other organizations with vested interests, will dismiss my experiences, and those of others who were harmed by SSRI’s, as merely anecdotal, but in the same breath they will quote (anecdotally) that that ‘these medicines save lives’. They will then quote the vague and mysterious ‘evidence based medicine’ to back up their stance, but what they won’t tell you is that the ‘evidence base’ is entirely unreliable, and in most cases -utterly corrupted, and in the worse cases- outright lies. They won’t tell you that the pharmaceutical industry is among the most corrupt industries on the planet (see Whisleblower Greg Thorpe’s GSK felony complaint here), and that death from psychiatric drugs in particular is a staggeringly high outcome for many.
A PRESCRIPTION For Murder? is a BBC documentary focusing on the potential effects of prescription antidepressants.
But what is it about? And when can you watch it? Here’s what we know…
What is A Prescription For Murder?
This new Panorama documentary looks into whether prescription antidepressants can turn you into a killer.
Over 40 million prescriptions for SSRI antidepressants were handed out by doctors last year in the UK.
Panorama reveals the devastating side effects on a tiny minority that can lead to psychosis, violence, possibly even murder.
With exclusive access to psychiatric reports, court footage and drug company data, reporter Shelley Jofre investigates the mass killings at the 2012 midnight premiere of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. Twenty-four-year-old PhD student James Holmes, who had no record of violence or gun ownership, murdered 12 and injured 70.
Did the SSRI antidepressant he had been prescribed play a part in the killings?
Panorama has uncovered other cases of murder and extreme violence which could be linked to psychosis developed after the taking of SSRIs – including a father who strangled his 11-year-old son.
Panorama asks if enough is known about this rare side effect, and if doctors are unwittingly prescribing what could be a prescription for murder.
When is A Prescription for Murder? on?
You can catch the show at 9pm on Wednesday July 26, 2017.
If you miss it, you can catch it again on the BBC iPlayer.
Who is Shelley Jofre?
Shelley is a journalist who was born in Irvine, Ayrshire.
She began her career back in 1995 and is now one of the top investigators for Panorama.
Shelley is married and has a daughter.
Who is James Homes and what was the Aurora massacre?
James Eagan Holmes was born December 13, 1987 and is an American convicted mass murder.
He was responsible for the Aurora cinema shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 others at a Century movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012.
He walked into a midnight screening of Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises and threw two gas canisters into the audience.
Many in the audience thought it was a publicity stunt until he began spraying the crown with the shotgun, then the assault rifle and finally the pistol.
A witness said he went outside and and shot people as they ran.
Cops apprehended Holmes in his car behind the cinema within minutes of the shooting. He told them that he was “The Joker”.
On August 7 2015 Holmes was sentenced to life in prison without parole, avoiding the death penalty because the jury could not come to a unanimous decision.
James Holmes, a young man with no record of violence, murdered 12 people watching Batman in a Colorado cinema in 2012.
Did an SSRI antidepressant, prescribed by a doctor, play a part in the killings?
He slumps wild-eyed across the desk from detectives, with a mess of badly dyed red hair, his clothes hanging off him.
James Holmes looks every inch the monster who coldly executed 12 innocent people and injured dozens more at a midnight screening of the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
Holmes had carried out the killings with an arsenal of weaponry he had accumulated in the preceding weeks. He had planned the shootings down to the tiniest detail, even booby-trapping his own apartment with home-made bombs to divert police resources while he launched the attack.
Watching a recording of his interview at the police station, conducted just hours after he carried out one of the worst mass shootings in recent US history, who could feel anything but loathing for this callous 24-year-old graduate student? When asked how to spell his surname, Holmes cockily replies, “Like Sherlock”.
When left alone with paper bags on his hands to secure forensic evidence, he’s caught on camera using them to talk to one another, like sock puppets.
The only hint he may have some inkling of what he’s just done is when he asks a detective, “There wasn’t any children hurt?” In fact, six-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan was the youngest of Holmes’s victims that night in July 2012 – killed as she watched the movie premiere with her mother at the packed cinema in Aurora, Colorado.
Americans have become wearily accustomed to mass shootings. Usually, in the days and weeks that follow, some kind of warped explanation emerges – be it terrorism, revenge or a predisposition to violence. It’s highly unusual for the perpetrator to be taken alive. Usually they are killed or kill themselves at the scene.
Holmes survived, and as the evidence stacked up it looked like another tragic collision of mental breakdown with America’s lax gun laws.
Holmes’s Glock 22 Pistol photographed on the bonnet of his car
Why else would a clever, shy guy with no history of violence, from a loving home, carry out such a heinous attack? Holmes had no enemies, no terrorist ideology to drive him on.
But the student had been seeing a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver and this was no barrier to him buying a handgun, tear gas, full body armour and a semi-automatic rifle.
.223 M&P Assault Rifle photographed outside the cinema
Before he faced a court of law, Holmes was evaluated by a number of psychiatrists. No two doctors reached exactly the same conclusion. There were diagnoses of schizophrenia, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal disorder – or no diagnosable disorder at all. Some thought Holmes couldn’t legally be held responsible for his crime, on grounds of insanity. Others disagreed, arguing he still knew right from wrong when he carried out the shootings.
When these questions came before a jury two years ago, the verdict was unanimous. Holmes was found guilty on all counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder.
Judge Carlos Samour Jr said:
He was led from the dock to jeers of “loser”, as his bewildered parents Bob and Arlene looked on, to begin one of the longest prison terms in US history – 12 life sentences plus 3,318 years in prison. He only narrowly escaped the death penalty.
Holmes is being held in solitary confinement at a maximum security prison in an undisclosed state, because the nature of his crimes make him a target for other prisoners. That’s how he will spend the rest of his days.
Like any other casual observer skimming over the court reporting online, I thought justice had been done, and that this was where Holmes’s story ended. Then I spoke to psycho-pharmacologist and long-time campaigner on the potential dangerous side effects of antidepressants, Prof David Healy.
Healy had been hired as an expert witness in the James Holmes case and had visited him in jail before the trial. The public defender appointed to represent Holmes wanted Healy to evaluate whether the antidepressant sertraline (also known as Lustral in the UK and Zoloft in the US), which Holmes had been prescribed, could have played a role in the mass murder.
Prof David Healy
I have worked with David Healy in the past on a number of investigative films for the BBC’s current affairs programme, Panorama.
These films revealed cases where people with no previous history of suicidal thoughts or violence went on to seriously harm themselves or others after being thrown into a state of mental turmoil by the newer generation of SSRI antidepressants, such as paroxetine and fluoxetine.
Before meeting Holmes, Healy doubted the pills had played a part. But by the end of his prison visit he had reached a controversial conclusion.
He was never called to give evidence at the trial of James Holmes, but he told me in August 2016 that he would have told the court:
SSRIs are thought to work by boosting serotonin levels to the brain.
Stephen Buckley, from mental health charity Mind, says:
He adds that no-one should stop taking medication suddenly, without advice from a health professional.
“If anyone is concerned that they may be experiencing harmful side effects they should speak to their doctor or pharmacist about alternatives.”
Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says: “In all treatments – from cancer to heart disease – medicines which do good can also do harm. This applies in psychiatry. Current evidence from large-scale studies continues to show that for antidepressants the benefits outweigh the risks.”
David Healy maintains that while antidepressants can be a lifesaver for some, for others they can cause more harm than the original problems they were prescribed to treat.
But what makes a young man plan over months a mass shooting, then carry it out with cold precision? Could antidepressants possibly do that?
‘He was too good’
Arlene and Bob Holmes sat through every day of their son’s trial but rejected all approaches to talk in public about their son out of respect for the victims and their families.
However, a book that Arlene wrote, When the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes 2013-2014, gives an insight into her thoughts in the run-up to the trial in April 2015.
Arlene and Bob Holmes arrive at the court building
In one section, she describes the effects of taking the lowest dose of an SSRI antidepressant in March 2014:
She continues: “I sit through church service and sift through the Bible, uninspired. I’m fuzzy. Weird dreams. Crying used to be a release. Now I cannot cry, or laugh. I hate this feeling.”
Arlene Holmes, a nurse, wrote that she stopped taking the pills before the trial, telling her doctor she wanted to be able to feel things and to cry if she wanted to.
If she had a bad experience with an SSRI antidepressant, what would she make of David Healy’s view of her son’s case?
I contacted the couple’s lawyer explaining my own background in investigating antidepressants and suggesting that Arlene and Bob Holmes might hold information that could, ultimately, help prevent future tragedies.
A few weeks later an email from Arlene dropped into my inbox. Short and to the point, it requested more information and asked me not to share her contact details with anyone.
“Some people bear my family ill will,” she wrote.
When we finally spoke on the phone, it became clear Arlene and Bob had never seriously considered the effect antidepressants might have had on their son’s behaviour. In fact, they hadn’t even known of David Healy’s involvement as a pre-trial expert witness.
Persuaded that exploring their son’s case in depth may ultimately help others, they reluctantly agreed to a filmed interview. It wouldn’t help their son – they know he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Approaching their low-rise detached home in a neat suburb of San Diego, what struck me was the sheer ordinariness – a man out washing his car, another mowing his lawn, kids playing baseball in the park. Inside, the Holmes’ house is modest, understated – just like Arlene and Bob.
“We are an introverted family,” says Arlene. “We are not showy but we like having people around. We care about the larger picture in society and we are Christians, we go to church.”
The couple have struggled to understand how their boy could cause so much hurt and pain to others.
“Not in your wildest dreams would you think your son would shoot strangers,” says Arlene. “For someone who loved kids and dogs and always did his homework and his chores. You can’t believe it is possible for anyone to cause that much harm, let alone the man you raised.”
She says they never saw any signs of violence, and that her son had not shown any interest in drink or drugs.
“In retrospect, I think he was too good. Maybe I should have worried about the fact he was so good, but as a mother you can worry about just about anything.”
Bob Holmes, a retired statistician, is a man of few words.
“He was never interested in guns or really even a violent kid, that’s why it was surprising. It came out of nowhere. He seemed happy enough, just pretty much a normal everyday kid growing up, so…” Bob’s voice trails off as though he can’t bear to finish the thought.
They say there had been ups and downs along the way but little to mark them out from any other family.
They moved home when James was 13 and he found the transition hard. He was quiet but he had friends and took part in sports. He cruised through his academic work at school and, later, as an undergraduate.
Bob and Arlene speak about taking James to a counsellor:
The first real hump in the road was when Holmes applied to six top universities to study for a doctorate in neuroscience. Academically bright, his shyness in interviews appeared to work against him. He was rejected by all of them.
“He came home and he just kind of didn’t do much of anything for a while, and he just kind of hung out,” says Bob.
Arlene says her son was sleeping a lot and not going out much.
“So I got mad and I said, ‘You are done with college, you need to do something.’”
Holmes took his mother’s advice and found a job working night shifts in a pill factory while he applied to more universities.
In 2011, he accepted an offer to study neuroscience at University of Colorado Denver and started in the autumn. Not his first choice, says his mother, but it all seemed to be working out fine.
“He still was happy to be at Colorado, talked to us about eventually settling and he eventually borrowed money to buy a town house on the outskirts of Denver,” she says.
Very few of Holmes’s former friends are willing to talk, but one – a young man who knew him well as an undergraduate – spoke to me on condition of anonymity. The Holmes he knew and liked was just as Bob and Arlene described – shy, polite, frugal and smart.
They used to play video games together – strategy games, not the violent kind, he says. There was the occasional beer, but no drugs, parties or girls.
“We were pretty nerdy,” he says.
Discovering someone he was close to could commit mass murder had been “a profound experience”. When he heard what his friend had done, he knew something must have happened to him.
“I still don’t know how to make sense of it,” he says.
Someone who spent time with Holmes in the crucial months before the shootings was Hillary Allen, a fellow graduate student on the neuroscience programme at CU Denver.
Sometimes the friendship was hard work.
“He was kind of quiet and kept to himself. He did have a kind of a quirky sense of humour,” says Allen.
“We were part of a group of scientists so I think everyone’s a bit odd. Maybe he was a little bit more odd than the rest of us, maybe more socially awkward.”
Socially awkward. It’s a phrase that comes up time and again to describe Holmes. It’s what led him to make contact with the university counselling department in the spring of 2012, just months before the shootings.
Cracks had started to appear in Holmes’s apparently effortless success. Over the Christmas break he was diagnosed with glandular fever. Tired and ill for the first couple of months of 2012, he kept going to classes, but his work was going downhill.
The shy and anxious Holmes found giving presentations in front of his classmates particularly hard.
His first proper relationship with fellow graduate student Gargi Datta had also come to an end. Datta didn’t want to speak to me, but according to Arlene Holmes the break-up hit her son hard.
“It was a cordial break-up. That’s the word he used, ‘cordial’. They both parted as friends.”
It was Datta who suggested Holmes seek help at the campus student wellness centre. On 21 March 2012, James Holmes had his first appointment there with psychiatrist Dr Lynne Fenton.
Sifting through the mountain of court testimony and evidence, this date sticks out.
Does it – as the prosecution would argue – mark the point at which Holmes first acknowledges he’s struggling mentally in the perfect storm of his relationship breakdown, academic problems and long-standing social anxiety? A storm that explains why he decided he had nothing to lose and everything to gain from killing as many people as he could?
Or was that date significant – as David Healy would say – because it was the day Lynne Fenton prescribed to James Holmes the antidepressant, sertraline?
First page of Holmes’s notebook
In his first meeting with Lynne Fenton, Holmes was hard to engage but described his anxiety around people. And during that 45-minute session worrying details emerged that he’d never talked about with his family.
Holmes said he was having thoughts of killing people three or four times a day.
Although it sounds alarming, Fenton didn’t regard him as dangerous at that point. The thoughts were abstract, there was no plan or, it seemed, any real intent. She prescribed the antidepressant sertraline to ease his anxiety and obsessive thoughts.
Holmes in custody
In later prison interviews with court-appointed forensic psychiatrist Dr William Reid, Holmes said he’d had intrusive thoughts like this since his teens. Not of actually killing people, rather of wishing them dead to escape from awkward social situations.
According to Reid, these kinds of intrusive thoughts are not uncommon.
“He wasn’t talking about a vengeful hatred,” he says. “He was talking about an aversion to mankind. Being around much of mankind was uncomfortable to him and it wasn’t very rewarding to him so he wanted to avoid it.”
With hindsight, it provides a clear motive, according to Colorado District Attorney, George Brauchler, who successfully prosecuted the case. He says Holmes had a long-standing hatred of mankind – that’s why he killed so many people.
As he puts it, Holmes was “evil”.
District Attorney, George Brauchler
Brauchler says Holmes kept his evil desires at bay until it became clear he wasn’t going to get what he wanted to be happy.
It’s a persuasive argument, and one some experts, and ultimately the jurors, had no trouble in accepting. But the timeline of what happened between Holmes’s first prescription of sertraline and the shootings wasn’t explored at trial.
When you scrutinise that timeline, it raises serious questions about the role of the widely prescribed antidepressant.
Page from Holme’s notebook
Just before he carried out the shootings, Holmes posted to Fenton a notebook he had written in. At times rambling, it gives some contemporaneous insight into his troubled mind. Both William Reid and David Healy agree it’s a valuable piece of evidence.
Holmes wrote about the initial effects of going on sertraline.
The first evidence that his thoughts of killing were turning real came in an online conversation with Gargi Datta on 25 March, four days after starting on sertraline.
At Holmes’s trial, Datta testified that at first she thought he was joking.
But as she challenged him, the details of his delusional theory spilled out.
This theory about increasing his so-called “human capital” by actually killing people was quite different to the abstract thoughts he’d had up until then about wishing people dead to get out of uncomfortable social situations.
Psychiatrists I’ve spoken to agree it was delusional, a sign of psychosis.
Datta was asked in court if he’d ever said anything delusional before this chat. She confirmed he hadn’t.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr Philip Resnick, from Ohio, was engaged as a prosecution expert. He was not called to give evidence at trial.
Dr Philip Resnick
In his first interview on the subject, he told me the “human capital” conversation with Datta was a key moment.
“I don’t think we have evidence of a plan to do it [kill] with an intention to do it before the human capital theory,” he says.
Holmes went back to see psychiatrist Lynne Fenton two days after telling Datta about human capital but he didn’t mention it to her. He did tell Fenton the medication hadn’t helped his obsessive thoughts. She doubled the dose of sertraline from 50mg to 100mg.
David Healy believes this made Holmes’s mental state worse:
He adds: “But when they are causing a problem, increasing the dose is a recipe for disaster.”
Nearly a fortnight after the dose increase on 9 April, the previously shy and awkward Holmes made a move on his classmate, Hillary Allen. His texts to her became uncharacteristically bold. One hot day he messaged her about the clothes she was wearing in class.
“Oh Hillary, Why yuh gotta distract me with those short shorts…?”
“I remember receiving that and just like kind of blushing and being like, I don’t remember what I said, but kind of trying to laugh it off and just trying not to create an awkward situation,” she says.
For David Healy, this was further evidence of the effect sertraline was having on Holmes.
At his fourth appointment with Lynne Fenton on 17 April, Holmes told her his homicidal thoughts had increased, though he still didn’t tell her about his human capital delusion. Fenton’s notes of that meeting documented a decline in his mental state.
“Psychotic level thinking… Guarded, paranoid, hostile thoughts he won’t elaborate on,” she wrote.
Whatever effect the sertraline was having, it certainly wasn’t helping. Healy firmly believes the psychotic-level thinking Fenton noted was a consequence of the medication.
At this appointment, Fenton upped the dose to 150mg. At Holmes’s trial she told the court this was the dose she had always been aiming for.
“It isn’t on her radar that this drug could be causing the kinds of problems that he’s having,” Healy says.
Fenton declined to be interviewed, but a statement from the University of Colorado Denver says patient-doctor confidentiality laws forbid her from talking about Holmes’s care without his consent, which he has not given.
By May, Holmes’s “mission”, as he later described it, got real. He began spending large amounts of money accumulating
weapons. In the notebook he wrote:
By this time, Holmes’s coursework had badly deteriorated. He gave a disastrous final presentation and then failed his exams. He was offered the chance to re-sit but on 11 June dropped out of university. Just before that, he had one last meeting with psychiatrist Lynne Fenton and her colleague.
Holmes’s final presentation
They were so concerned by his state of mind at this appointment they offered to keep treating him free of charge, but Holmes refused. Fenton had the power to detain Holmes under a mental health hold, but she told his trial she felt there were insufficient grounds.
She did contact the campus security team to ask for criminal-record and weapon-permit checks. Holmes was given the all clear. He never told Fenton about the weapons he’d bought or the plans he was making.
Fenton also called Holmes’s mother.
“She said, ‘Do you know that he is not going to continue in school?’” Arlene tells me. “I thought that was the purpose of her phone call, and I said, ‘Did he ask you to call me?’ And she said, ‘No he didn’t want me to call you and he didn’t want you to worry.’
A Key Largo man who prosecutors say severely beat his wife with the stock of a shotgun in 2015 and then engaged in a rolling gun battle with police — wounding one officer — changed his not-guilty plea to insanity due to what he says is withdrawal from the anti-anxiety medication Paxil.
And his wife has gone from a witness for the prosecution to a defense witness.
Honour Schminky, wife of Robert Schminky — charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of battery on law enforcement officers and a misdemeanor of discharging a gun in public — declined to comment when asked outside the Plantation Key courthouse about the case Tuesday morning. A trial has tentatively been scheduled for July.
Robert Schminky’s attorney, Hal Schuhmacher, filed the change of plea on Friday in Monroe County Circuit Court. Chief Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson said Tuesday that his office will hire its own psychiatrist to evaluate Schminky.
“Insanity is an all-or-nothing proposition,” Wilson said.
Palm Beach psychiatrist Dr. Stefan Rose is expected to testify that Schminky, 59, suffered from amnesia on Jan. 21, 2015, “due to Paxil discontinuation syndrome” when he beat his wife with the shotgun so savagely that it broke several of her ribs and the gun’s stock. Schminky fired the weapon into the ground twice as Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the couple’s Buttonwood Drive home shortly before midnight.
According to court documents, Schminky then sped off in his Lexus SUV. Deputies chased as Schminky led them north up County Road 905 while firing pistol rounds at them. He then turned around and pulled into the Circle K gas station parking lot that splits County Road 905 from the 18-Mile Stretch of U.S. 1 — the two roads that lead in and out of the Keys.
Two Sheriff’s Office cruisers and a Florida Highway Patrol car driven by Cpl. Christine Gracey corralled Schminky’s vehicle. Schminky rammed Gracey’s car and the two vehicles became temporarily locked together. Rather than give up, police say Schminky opened fire, shooting a total of 31 rounds. One bullet entered Gracey’s car and two shattered the blue lights on top of the vehicle.
Schminky also fired at deputies. One round grazed Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Sidney Whitehouse’s leg. Schminky managed to free his Lexus and drive away. While her car was stuck to Schminky’s, Gracey said she did not feel it was safe to return fire because two Sheriff’s Office cars were on both sides of her cruiser. But when Schmiky backed up, she fired one shot at his fleeing vehicle.
Gracey was awarded the FHP’s Medal of Valor in May 2015 for her courage under fire. She was also awarded the department’s Purple Heart medal because the gunshot fired into her car caused her to suffer hearing damage.
After the skirmish at the Circle K, Schminky drove to St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church near mile marker 105.5. He reportedly fired several shots at Deputy Nestor Argote and ran off but soon was captured by Argote and Detective Barney Sajdak.
In the Lexus, officers found a .44-magnum revolver with six empty shell casings, and six shells apparently from a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, according to the 2015 arrest affidavit.
Jury Awards $11.9 Million in Paxil Suicide Malpractice Case–Psychiatric Expert Peter R. Breggin Testifies
Largest malpractice award of its kind: $11.9 million malpractice verdict confirms that SSRI antidepressants can cause suicide. “The jury award confirms increasing judicial and public awareness that psychiatric drugs can cause violent and suicidal behaviors,” according to the psychiatric expert Peter Breggin, MD.
Peter R. Breggin M.D.
This $11.9 million verdict confirms the significant body of scientific evidence indicating that psychiatric drugs can cause violence and suicide
Ithaca, NY (PRWEB)October 06, 2016
A jury has awarded $11.9 million in a suicide case involving the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine). The patient killed himself in jail after a psychiatrist restarted him on the SSRI antidepressant.
The $11.9 million award was one of the largest jury awards of its kind in an antidepressant-related suicide case which concluded September 15, 2016.
The defendant was PrimeCare and several of its practitioners and staff who provided services at the jail. The jury determined that the company and most of the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the patient’s medical needs.
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin MD testified, according to court documents, about the negligence and callous indifference of the psychiatrist and the psychologist who treated the 46 year old patient, Mr. Mumun Barbaros. In addition, Dr. Breggin testified about causation in respect to the actions of the psychologist and psychiatrist, as well as the nursing staff and administration.
According to court documents Dr. Breggin testified that restarting the patient on his regular dose of the SSRI antidepressant Paxil 30 mg, despite a hiatus of least four days without the medication, was a direct cause of the suicide later on the same day. He explained further that the patient had difficulty several years earlier when starting the medication, even though the initial dose was only 10 mg. Restarting him on Paxil 30 mg, when most of the drug was out of his system caused akathisia (agitation with hyperactivity) and suicide. He also found that the doctor and the psychologist were negligent in several other ways, including their failure to evaluate the patient and to order careful monitoring.
Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. All antidepressants can cause suicidal and homicidal behavior, especially those that routinely cause stimulation or activation, including akathisia, agitation, insomnia, disinhibition, emotional lability, hypomania, and mania, and a general worsening of the patient’s condition. Of all the antidepressants, Paxil was the only one to show a statistically significant association with suicide in depressed adults in the short and deeply flawed clinical trials used for FDA approval of the drug. Dr. Breggin has written about the subject of medication-induced suicide in his book, “Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime,” as well as in other books and numerous scientific articles.
Dr. Breggin bolstered his testimony with numerous scientific citations according to the trial documents. The judge qualified Dr. Breggin as an expert in psychiatry, psychopharmacology and the specific drug Paxil. In the trial, other experts testified concerning the nursing care and administrative policies of the healthcare provider, as well as the violent method of Mr. Barbaros’ death by gagging himself.
Dr. Breggin commented, “This case illustrates the growing understanding within the judicial system and the public arena that psychiatric drugs can cause people to act in harmful ways that are contrary to their character and normal behavior. The verdict confirms the significant body of scientific evidence indicating that psychiatric drugs can cause violence and suicide.” Dr. Breggin also warned, “It is especially dangerous when starting, changing the doses or stopping psychiatric medication, and that medication withdrawal should be done carefully with experienced clinical supervision.”
The jury award included $2.8 million for negligence, $1.06 million for federal deliberate indifference and $8 million for punitive damages.
The attorney for the plaintiff was Brian Chacker of Philadelphia. The case is Ponzini et al. v. Monroe County et al., case number 3:11-cv-00413, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Scranton.
“…by the time he was 19, they dragged him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed an antipsychotic drug, a tranquilizer and an antidepressant…”
“He wasn’t someone who was living in the real world.”
“…He said the family had taken Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel to a doctor who prescribed medication to counter his depression, but described his son as “always alone, always depressed” and not wanting to talk..”
Mental illness (whatever that is) is not to blame for many of these violent acts. The common denominator in many cases like these is psychiatric drugs (known to cause dangerous, often violent side effects).
Check out the website- Antidepaware for hundreds of documented cases of psychiatric drug induced violence. And check out madinAmerica for brilliant articles from many highly respected and educated people (working in the mental health arena) willing to speak out about these dangerous psychiatric drugs…
What ‘medication’ was the Nice Attacker ( Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel) prescribed over the years? what psychiatric drugs was he on before or during the attack?
Forensic testing of blood can now determine if anti- depressants were the cause of violent behaviour, including murder or suicide, new research has found.
Genetic variations in metabolism affect how different people react to anti-depressants, and now medical examiners say they can identify those variations, and use the evidence to “potentially absolve people charged with homicide”, and explain why they acted like they did.
The research, published recently in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, was carried out by a medical specialist, a forensic psychiatrist and a pharmacogeneticist. It looks specifically at three cases where people with no previous diagnosis, who were prescribed antidepressants for stress-related issues, ended up killing others, with two attempting suicide.
“An out-of-character unmotivated homicide or suicide by a person taking medication might be chemically induced and involuntary. The capacity to use frontal lobe functions and control behaviour can be impaired by brain toxicity,” the paper states.
“None improved on medication, and no prescriber recognised complaints as adverse drug reactions or was aware of impending danger.”
The researchers took accounts of restlessness, akathisia (a state of severe restlessness associated with thoughts of death and violence), confusion, delirium, euphoria, extreme anxiety, obsessive preoccupation with aggression, and incomplete recall of events.
“Weird impulses to kill were acted on without warning. On recovery, all recognised their actions to be out of character, and their beliefs and behaviours horrified them,” the paper notes.
The research concludes that the “medicalisation of common human distress” has resulted in a very large number of people getting medication that may do more harm than good by causing “suicides and homicides and the mental states that lead up to them”.
Irish mental health campaigner Leonie Fennell, whose son Shane was prescribed anti-depressants and soon afterwards killed himself and another person, said she has been aware of this evolving science for some years, and has had Shane’s blood tested in Australia.
The researcher who tested Shane’s blood, Dr Yolande Lucire, is one of the papers’ authors. She cited his case in another research project she carried out in 2011. Dr Lucire noted Shane was initially prescribed a double dose of the common SSRI anti-depressant, citalopram.
Five days later he overdosed on the tablets, and two days later he told his doctor, who then restarted him on a lower dose of the anti-depressant.
“He immediately became violently akathisic, unable to stay in one place, moving constantly between the houses of friends, unable to sit and have a conversation. According to his mother, communicating with him was like ‘talking to a brick wall’. His friends reported that, immediately after taking citalopram, he became agitated, emotional, irrational, and aggressive. His brother saw him throw a mobile phone, destroying it, with trivial, if any provocation,” Lucire writes.
Post-mortem toxicology of blood revealed levels of citalopram of about 30 times the therapeutic level.
Dr Lucire, a forensic psychiatrist who specialises in adverse drug reactions to psychiatric drugs, said in her experience patients do not need the drugs they are being prescribed.
“It may be that one of the disclosures that doctors need to make warning of irritability, hostility and violent crime,” he said. “You need to watch out. And If you do feel increased hostility, aggression, violent thoughts you should go back to your GP and talk about that.”
A strip with Seroxat pills is seen in this illustration picture taken in Bucharest April 19, 2013.
Young people taking antidepressants such as Prozac and Seroxat are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes when they are on the medication, but taking higher doses of the drugs appears to reduce that risk, scientists said on Tuesday.
In research published in the PLoS Medicine journal, the scientists said that while their finding of a link does not prove that such drugs cause people to be more violent, further studies should be conducted and extra warnings may be needed in future when they are prescribed to people aged 15 to 24.
Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of widely prescribed drugs, including fluoxetine, branded by Eli Lilly as Prozac, and GlaxoSmithKline’s paroxetine, branded as Paxil or Seroxat, designed to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
For this work, researchers led by Seena Fazel of Britain’s Oxford University used a unique study design which aimed to avoid confounding factors by comparing the same individuals’ behavior while they were on and while they were off medication.
“The point of the design is that we’re comparing people with themselves,” Fazel told reporters at a briefing, adding that this helped minimize the impact of genetics or lifestyle factors.
Using matched data from Sweden’s prescribed drug register and its national crime register over a three-year period, they found about 850,000 people were prescribed SSRIs, and 1.0 percent of these were convicted of a violent crime.
While in most age groups the likelihood of criminal violence was not significantly different when people were taking SSRIs and when they were not, in 15-24 year-olds there was a distinct increase – of 43 percent – in their risk of committing violent crime while on the medication.
The results also found a higher risk of young people being involved in violent arrests, non-violent convictions and arrests, non-fatal injuries and having alcohol problems when they were taking the antidepressants – but also that those who took lower doses had a higher risk of being violent.
Fazel stressed that the findings raised several questions and should be investigated further before any changes were recommended on prescribing SSRIs. He said it was possible that young people taking lower doses of antidepressants were not being “fully treated” for their mental disorder, leaving them more likely to engage in impulsive behavior.
He added, however, that if the results are confirmed in further studies, “warnings about the increased risk of violent behavior among young people taking SSRIs might be needed”.
Una Butler, whose husband tragically murdered their two daughters and himself in November 2010, spoke to Mark Cagney and Sinead Desmond on TV3’s Ireland AM this morning.
“The medical profession might have treated John differently having heard my side of the story, and that would be without discussing what John was telling them, you know, without discussing it with me, so they’d have a greater insight into his behaviours at home because I don’t believe that he’d have told them everything about his behaviours at home”
“I believe that if I was educated on the illness, if there was a support liaison person there for the family to explain the illness maybe the side-effects of the medication, the effects that it would have had on John, that I would have been able to understand it better.”
Postpartum Depression: Mother Murders Baby & Self
Paragraph one reads: “Nollaig had been diagnosed with post-natal depression but the medication she was prescribed did not seem to be very effective.”
It’s difficult to figure out the full story using google translate from Dutch into English, however this recent article seems to suggest that Seroxat (Paroxetine/Paxil) has yet again been implicated for causing violence, and perhaps also- murder.
These cases are nothing new in regards to SSRI’s as those who have taken them often complain of scary side effects such as homicidal impulses, violence, aggression etc but when will the mainstream medical profession, particularly psychiatry, stop denying these dangerous side effects exist?..
Here’s the article anyhow..
If anyone can speak Dutch and do a better job at translating it than google, please do..
The suspect in the murder of prostitute Mariyana Lenarova (43) in Groningen will undergo behalf of justice experiments with the antidepressant paroxetine. It writes the AD. Fokko F. (46) swallowed the drug (also called Seroxat) in the period when the woman he stabbed to life brought.
Seroxat is controversial because according to researchers, can lead to violent aggression. On the initiative of the attorney Fokko F., and with his consent, researchers doing experiments in a clinical setting and closed. He is reduced to the dose at the time he swallowed, and then changes in dosage are made to determine whether he becomes disordered.
In January 2013 was Mariyana Lenarova, mother of two children, were killed in the city of Groningen. In her room she tendon received multiple stab wounds. Near two large meat knives were found. Five days after the murder suspect was arrested Fokko F.. He said to remember nothing of his visit to the prostitute.
The lawyer hopes the experiment will show that F can indeed be aggressive from scratch fluctuations in dosage. There is, according to him no other explanation for the sudden outbreak of violence. If the link is proved, the court would be able F. decide not to impose punishment but a forced treatment. The experiment starts in July. The lawsuit follows after the summer.
Seroxat plays a role in several criminal cases. Also Ids I would have acted under the influence of the drug, that case is at the Supreme Court. In the double murder case in Baflo the perpetrator was under the influence of the drug. Research shows that some people are genetically susceptible to the drug than others.
SSRI Stories is a collection of over 5,000 stories that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including violence.
This updated site includes the stories from the previous site and new ones from 2011 to date. We have used a new “category” classification system on the new stories. We are working back through previously SSRI Stories to bring them into the new classification system. In the meantime use the search box in the upper right column to search through both the old and the new stories.
Also, all of the stories from the original site are available under the Archives tab. These are presented in the traditional site format. Once we have finished the posting of new stories and applying the expanded classification we will make all of this available in this traditional format.
SSRI Stories focuses on the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac (fluoxetine) was the first. For more see About SSRIs.
Adverse reactions are most likely to occur when starting or discontinuing the drug, increasing or lowering the dose or when switching from one SSRI to another. Adverse reactions are often diagnosed as bipolar disorder when the symptoms may be entirely iatrogenic (treatment induced). Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
The following RxISK.org research papers deal with dependence and withdrawal and may be helpful:
Latest news:“Devoted” husband shot his wife and himself after having been prescribed antidepressants
The objective of this site is to promote awareness of the dangers of antidepressants.
There is no wish to ban these drugs which give support to a large number of people with depression. However, it is clear that antidepressants are being prescribed to those who are not depressed, to whom they are likely to do more harm than good.
In 2009 my son, who had never been depressed in his life, went to see a doctor over insomnia caused by temporary work-related stress. He was prescribed Citalopram, and within less than a week he had taken his life.
As a consequence I learned of the suicide risk of antidepressants, particularly in the early weeks of uptake or if the dosage is changed up or down, or withdrawn.
Drug companies will say that an adverse reaction which induces suicidal thoughts will affect only about 1% of users. But there are at present over 4 million users of antidepressants in the UK, which means that there are 40 thousand people who may be at risk at one time or another.
The centrepiece of this site is a link to inquest reports, found mostly in the online archives of local newspapers, in which antidepressants are a factor in self-inflicted deaths. The reports cover England and Wales over the past 10 years.
It must be noted that this list is far from exhaustive but, even so, contains exactly 1650 reports, including 263 (or an average of 5 a week) from 2012 alone.
My motivation in embarking on this research has been to offer some understanding to the grieving families who are invariably left a legacy of unanswered questions, along with the memory of horrific loss. Perhaps this site will help answer some of those questions.
WARNING: People who have been prescribed antidepressants should never suddenly stop taking their medication. Gradual tapering is advisable. Anyone considering altering the dosage of their medication, or withdrawing from it, needs to take medical advice first.