ANTIDEPRESSANT? Father Acquitted of Sleepwalk Killing of Son, Attacking Other Children

Blake Mitchell and father

Joseph Anthony Mitchell & Blake (4)

Since serotonin directly affects sleep and one of the first adverse reactions seen with the first SSRI antidepressant, Prozac, was that it repressed REM sleep I searched for more and more information on this affect. And since 1992 I have warned and warned and warned that sleep patterns were being drastically disrupted by antidepressants. My strongest warning with one entire chapter of my book, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare, devoted to this is that the REM Sleep Disorder (RBD), where patients act out nightmares in a sleep state, was being triggered by SSRI antidepressants. This disorder is known to potentially result in both murder and suicide committed in an unconscious sleepwalk state.

Since the initial printing of the book with those warnings the leading experts on this disorder in the US have learned that 86% of those being diagnosed with this deadly sleep disorder are currently taking antidepressant medications with 80% of those on SSRIs.

What is most frighting about those figures is that RBD has always been known in the past as a drug withdrawal state so it should follow that the rate of cases would be higher in the withdrawal from antidepressants which are found in 86% of the cases! Yet no one has done that research at this point that I am aware of. This would explain why there are such serious warnings (warnings of possible suicide, hostility, or psychosis) about any abrupt change in dose of antidepressants which could throw the user into abrupt withdrawal thus increasing the chance of this deadly sleep disorder known as RBD.

In the following case Joseph Anthony Mitchell, an ex-paramedic, never denied that he strangled his son Blake, 4, on the night of September 22, 2010, at the family’s foreclosed home in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Instead his attorney argued that he did it “uncontrollably and without malice” while sleepwalking.

“A North Carolina father was acquitted of strangling to death his 4-year-old son and trying to kill his other two children after the defense successfully argued that the man’s ‘violent sleepwalking’ was to blame for the tragedy.

“A jury on Wednesday decided unanimously that Joseph Anthony Mitchell is not guilty of murder and attempted murder after an expert witness said he was effectively unconscious at the time of his attacks four years ago.”

The defense expert testified that Mitchell suffered a “‘non-REM parasomnia,’ a sleep disorder whose sufferers can perform random acts unconsciously. Because of this disorder, he was incapable of exercising criminal intent, the expert said.”

“Prosecutors described how Joe Mitchell tried to push his daughter’s head between her bed and a wall while wearing a Halloween mask. The girl fought back and survived, along with her brother Devin, reported ABC11.

“Blake, however, was not as lucky. Alexis Mitchell, now 18 years old, said in court she passed out and was later awakened by her baby brother’s screams.
‘I remember seeing my father on my other little brother [Devin], and I tried to get him off of him,’ Alexis testified. ‘He was trying to hurt him. I ran to my mother’s room and told her what was happening, and she told me to go get my brothers.’
When Alexis returned to her siblings’ room, she picked up Blake in her arms, not knowing he was dying. The teen said she thought the toddler was asleep.”

In yet another report you can see the bizarre out of character and suicidal behavior:

“Jurors on Monday watched a portion of a videotaped interview by Durham County Sheriff’s Office investigators with Christine Mitchell, Joseph Mitchell’s wife, and her father, Pete Perolini.

“It’s confusing me all to hell,” Perolini told the two deputies.

“He saved so many lives,” a distraught Christine Mitchell said, noting that her husband previously worked as a paramedic.

She noted that Joseph Mitchell had been unemployed for about two years at the time of the attack but that he had a lead on a new job after a promising interview.

“We were working it out,” she said of the family’s financial difficulties. “We always said we have each other.”

His older son said that his father returned two more times to try again to smother him but that he repeatedly fought him off. On his third time in the bedroom, Joseph Mitchell flicked the light on and off, and Devon saw he was wearing his mother’s yellow jacket.

The children said they thought Blake was simply asleep, so they carried him into their mother’s room, where she began CPR, according to Roberts.

After attacking the children, Joseph Mitchell went into a home office and stabbed himself three times in the chest and slit his throat, and deputies had to break through the door to get to him, according to testimony.

Original articles:

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,

International Coalition for Drug Awareness &
Author: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

WITHDRAWAL WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

WITHDRAWAL HELP: You can find the hour and a half long CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: And if you need additional consultations with Ann Blake-Tracy, you can book one at or sign up for one of the memberships for the International Coalition for Drug Awareness which includes free consultations as one of the benefits of that particular membership plan.

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