PROZAC: Not Guilty of Assault Using Prozac Defense: Kansas

Paragraphs nine through twelve read:  “However, he
testified he believed
high dosages of Prozac,
an anti-depressant prescribed to him at the prison and jail, influenced
his behavior.”

“It made him feel like he wanted jump out
of his skin
, he said. Housworth told jurors he never intended to hurt
anyone.”

“During the time he’s spent in youth shelters, jails and
prisons, Housworth said he had nothing but “minor write-ups” until
he began taking Prozac in 40-milligram to 90-milligram
dosages at the local prison and jail.”

“He said he never stopped
taking the drug because he was 70 days shy of parole in June 2007, and then he

signed a parole agreement specifying he would take his
prescribed medications.”

Paragraphs fourteen and fifteen read:
“Dr. Mark Goodman, a local clinical psychologist who evaluated Housworth,
testified for the defense he believed the high dosage
of Prozac prescribed to Housworth at the prison and jail caused his aggressive
behavior.”

“Goodman said the recommended Prozac dosage for an
adult was 20 to 80 milligrams, and he believed the high dosages given to
Housworth, combined with Housworth’s “bipolar features” and “anger
history,” rendered him unable to reason
appropriately.”

http://www.hutchnews.com/Todaystop/trial2009-10-23T20-32-29

Saturday, October 24, 2009    4 : 14 PM

Meds defense a success

Former prisoner acquitted in batteries he blames on
Prozac.

By Darcy Gray The Hutchinson News dgray@hutchnews.com

A former Hutchinson Correctional Facility inmate charged with battering
correctional officers and another inmate told jurors this week “Prozac mania,”
from high dosages of the prescribed drug, caused his aggressive, impulsive
behavior.

The jurors agreed.

Andrew Housworth, 31, was found not

guilty Friday of five counts of battery against a correctional officer and two
counts of aggravated battery of a correctional officer and a fellow inmate.

During his trial this week before Reno County District Judge Tim
Chambers, Housworth admitted to spitting on correctional officers at the prison
and the Reno County jail in 2007.

He admitted to attacking a fellow
inmate at the Reno County jail in April 2008, hitting him and biting his cheek.

Although Housworth was charged with aggravated battery of an HCF officer
in September 2007 for allegedly choking the officer with his belly chain, or
restraint, he denied choking the officer. He told jurors he was first
“clotheslined” and pepper-sprayed by the officer before responding in
self-defense.

His attorney, Alice Osburn, noted there was time missing
from the prison surveillance video during the incident, in which Housworth
claimed he had been beaten.

Housworth also admitted during trial his
criminal history included aggravated assault, criminal threat and attempted
robbery.

However, he testified he believed high dosages of Prozac, an
anti-depressant prescribed to him at the prison and jail, influenced his
behavior.

It made him feel like he wanted jump out of his skin, he said.
Housworth told jurors he never intended to hurt anyone.

During the time
he’s spent in youth shelters, jails and prisons, Housworth said he had nothing
but “minor write-ups” until he began taking Prozac in 40-milligram to
90-milligram dosages at the local prison and jail.

He said he never
stopped taking the drug because he was 70 days shy of parole in June 2007, and
then he signed a parole agreement specifying he would take his prescribed
medications.

Housworth said his concerns about Prozac‘s effects on him
were ignored by local prison and jail staff. After an incident in which he
punched Reno County Jail Capt. Scott Powell in September 2008, Housworth said,
he was transferred to Lyons County jail, where they took him off Prozac in March
and he had not had a problem with officers since.

Dr. Mark Goodman, a
local clinical psychologist who evaluated Housworth, testified for the defense

he believed the high dosage of Prozac prescribed to Housworth at the prison and
jail caused his aggressive behavior.

Goodman said the recommended Prozac
dosage for an adult was 20 to 80 milligrams, and he believed the high dosages
given to Housworth, combined with Housworth’s “bipolar features” and “anger
history,” rendered him unable to reason appropriately.

A doctor at the
Larned State Hospital, however, testified for the prosecution that Housworth had
an anti-social personality and did not lack the mental state necessary to commit
the crimes.

Jurors were asked, regarding each charge, whether they
believed Housworth suffered a mental deficiency due to high dosages of Prozac

that “rendered him incapable” of criminal intent, or intending to commit the
crimes.

As the verdict was announced Friday, jurors announced “yes,”
they believed he suffered from the mental deficiency as to all charges except
for the aggravated battery charge in which Housworth was accused of choking the
prison officer.

Friday’s verdict represents the first time since 2003
such a defense has been successful in winning an acquittal.

In 2003,
Dale McCormick, of Sylvia, was acquitted after a jury decided his alleged bomb
threat at the Reno County Law Enforcement Center was the result of mental
defect, brought on by depression and a dosage change in McCormick’s mood
stabilizer.

In Housworth’s case, the jury foreperson told The News
jurors discussed at length all evidence in the case, including the doctors’
contradicting opinions. Jurors requested a read-back of witness testimony
Thursday night, so they took a break and continued deliberating Friday
morning.

Jurors felt Housworth was open and honest in talking about what
had happened, as well as his criminal history, she said. Housworth was willing
to talk about the incident with Powell, even though it was not charged against
him.

Following the verdict, Chambers ordered Housworth be committed to
the Larned State Hospital until he is no longer a danger.

Osburn
confirmed Housworth is also facing charges in Leavenworth County for battery of

a correctional officer.

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12/30/2000 – McDermott on Prozac, Paxil AND Deseryl?

If the Boston Herald’s source got it right, McDermott was on one heck of a
combo!!! All three are contraindicated in mixing any of the three with even
one of the others, much less two!! His serotonin levels must have been out of
sight using three serotonergic meds! No one should be surprised that he went
psychotic on this combination, even if the drugs were given in succession,
rather than together.

Let me also point out that the so called “Prozac defense” HAS been used
successfully several times. And as far as I know Kip Kinkle’s attorney never
used the information on the drugs in his murder case.

Prozac would also have been found guilty in a case that is almost identical
this one – that of Joseph Wesbecker in Louisville, KY, who also after being
treated with Prozac went on a shooting spree with an AK47 where he worked.
That is it would have been used successfully if Eli Lilly had not bought off
the plaintiffs in the middle of the trial and then neglected to disclose that
payoff to both the judge and the jurors. Judge John Potter deserves a metal
for taking Lilly and the plaintiffs to court and forcing them to admit the
truth of what happened. Although it took him a couple of years he said that
he did it because he did not want his courtroom turned into an advertising
agency for Prozac and pointed out that this is a public safety issue.
Amazingly Lilly has used that case to defend their drug ever since! (Although
my book discusses the Wesbecker case briefly, the book Power to Harm covers
the Wesbecker case in detail.)

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org
________________________________

“According to the source, who is familiar with the still mounting case,
McDermott had been taking Paxil, Prozac and Desyrel – all of which are SSRIs
designed to treat depression, social phobias or anxiety.”

Source: Suspect was taking drugs for depression

by Dave Wedge, Tom Farmer and Jose Martinez
Friday, December 29, 2000

The hulking computer technician accused of gunning down seven of his
co-workers at a Wakefield high-tech firm this week suffered from a host of
mental illnesses – including schizophrenia – for which he was taking a trio
of antidepressants, a source told the Herald yesterday.

Accused killer Michael M. McDermott at his arraignment Wednesday. (Staff
photo by Matthew West) “He’s got some serious psychological issues and a
long (psychiatric) history,” the source said of 42-year-old Michael
“Mucko” McDermott.

McDermott, a divorced Navy veteran from Marshfield who lived most recently in
Haverhill, suffered from severe depression, paranoia and schizophrenia, and
had been in psychiatric treatment for some time, according to the source who
spoke on condition of anonymity.

To cope with his mental disorders, McDermott was prescribed several Selective
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, designed to increase brain
serotonin. Low levels of brain serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety
disorders.

A source familiar with the investigation said McDermott’s supervisors at
Edgewater Technology Inc. did not appear to know he was using the medication.

McDermott is being held without bail on seven counts of first-degree murder
in Tuesday’s massacre at Edgewater. Prosecutors have said McDermott wielded a
shotgun and semiautomatic rifle with premeditated precision and extreme
atrocity, hunting down workers in the company’s accounting and human
resources offices but letting others flee unharmed.

He was arrested by police who found him sitting in the lobby near the bodies
of two of his victims. At least two Edgewater employees witnessed the
rampage, including one woman who hid behind a chair and her coat beneath a
desk in the accounting office, where two of her co-workers were killed.

Middlesex County District Attorney Martha Coakley has said McDermott may have
been seeking vengeance over the impending docking of his paychecks by
Edgewater to satisfy an IRS demand for back taxes. Sources say the IRS orders
would have left McDermott with just $275 every two weeks.

But investigators also are looking for clues about what drove the man to kill
by delving into the contents of computers seized from McDermott’s office and
home, where police also found bomb-making literature and materials. One
source said McDermott had attempted to wipe out the hard drive of his office
computer the day of the shootings.

Yesterday, neither Coakley nor McDermott’s defense attorney, Kevin
Reddington, would discuss the case or McDermott’s mental state and
psychological history. However, at Wednesday’s arraignment, Reddington raised
the specter of an insanity defense by saying his client had been seeing
psychiatrists and asking the judge to OK his continued medication.

Insanity defenses rarely succeed. The so-called Prozac defense has been
unsuccessfully attempted in dozens of murder cases nationwide, including in
the case of Kip Kinkel, the teenager who killed his family and two
schoolmates in Springfield, Ore.

According to the source, who is familiar with the still mounting case,
McDermott had been taking Paxil, Prozac and Desyrel – all of which are SSRIs
designed to treat depression, social phobias or anxiety.

The source also said orders have been sent by doctors to the Middlesex County
Sheriff’s office so McDermott can receive his medications in the Cambridge
jail. He will be examined by psychiatrists some time in the next week, the
source said.

The revelations about McDermott’s psychiatric history emerged as his
co-workers returned to St. Joseph’s Church – where so many of them had sought
refuge and solace in the hours after the shootings – for a memorial service
in honor of their seven slain colleagues.

“We’re all hurting and grieving, but I can’t tell you how much we’re pulling
together as a team,” Edgewater Technology Chief Executive Officer Shirley
Singleton said after meeting with her employees for the first time since the
shootings.

The company has started a memorial fund for the families of the slain workers
with a $70,000 donation. Singleton also said grief counseling, which began
yesterday at the firm, would continue as long as employees need help.

She declined to discuss the shootings that claimed the lives of Jennifer
Bragg Capobianco, 29; Janice Hagerty, 46; Louis Javelle, 58; Rose Manfredi,
48; Paul Marceau, 36; Cheryl Troy, 50, and Craig Wood, 29.

State and federal authorities are seeking the origin of McDermott’s weapons,
including the AK-47-style rifle and 12-gauge shotgun that he is alleged to
have used to kill the four women and three men, a .32-caliber pistol found in
his pants pocket and a large-caliber hunting rifle found in a locker by his
desk.

Haverhill police began looking for McDermott late Christmas Eve after someone
reported hearing gunfire in the woods near Crystal Lake, where a man fitting
his description was spotted by a car with the license plate “MUCKO.”
Officers traced the car back to McDermott’s apartment but could not locate
him despite several more visits Christmas Day.

One day later, investigators believe McDermott lugged the weapons unnoticed
into the Harvard Mills complex, one law enforcement source said. Two
soft-sided gun cases were found under his desk.

“He walked them right in and placed them under his desk,” the source said.
“They had a skeleton crew working that day and no one apparently saw him or
recognized what the cases were for.”

The source said McDermott loaded the shotgun with buckshot at his work
station before embarking on his killing spree. The source, a longtime
investigator, said the carnage he witnessed in the shooting’s aftermath left
him shaken.

“I was sick to my stomach over it,” he said. “It was unlike any other
murder scene because it was in a work setting. It was almost surreal. One of
the (dead) women had her head resting on her arm like she knew she was going
to get it.”

Meanwhile, gun control advocates held a rally outside the State House to urge
lawmakers to ban the sale of assault weapons like McDermott’s. Although
Massachusetts already has the country’s toughest gun law, it does not ban the
sale of assault weapons manufactured before September 1994.

“They have no legitimate use in a civilized society other than for law
enforcement,” said Stop Handgun Violence co-founder John E. Rosenthal.

Kevin Sowyrda, spokesman for the Gun Owners Action League, declined to
comment specifically on an assault weapon ban but said, “The last thing we
need in this period of mourning are political rallies.”

Donations may be made to the Edgewater Wakefield Memorial Foundation, Box
2133, Wakefield, Mass. 01880-6133. Donations may also be made at Fleet bank
branches.

Karen E. Crummy contributed to this report.

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