12/29/2000 – Boston shooting – involvement of Prozac & other antidepressants

As so many of you have been asking since Tuesday, here is
the official data from the Boston Globe on the Prozac use and
use of other antidepressants in the shooting that took place
the day after Christmas in the Boston area. It is very rare that the
information about the drug use comes out to the public so quickly. Generally
it is kept quiet until the case goes to court. We must
commend the Boston Globe for continuing to have the courage
to educate the public about this group of very dangerous drugs.

In the highlighted paragraphs 12 and 13, Kevin Reddington, the
attorney, states that he will ask experts to consider whether
McDermott’s medication (Prozac & other antidepressants)
contributed to the rampage.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness


Questions and grief

Police seeking clues to what set off rampage in Wakefield

By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff and Ralph Ranalli Globe Correspondent,

Three minutes before the shooting rampage that killed seven of his
co-workers, Michael McDermott received a brief telephone call in his work
cubicle at Edgewater Technology Inc.

A Chrysler Financial supervisor informed McDermott that his 1994 Plymouth
Acclaim would be repossessed, according to a source familiar with the call.

”I won’t be needing it; come pick it up,” answered McDermott, seemingly so
unconcerned that the supervisor made a note in her log.

It was 11:07 a.m. Tuesday. Three minutes later, the carnage began. Within 15
minutes, authorities say, McDermott had murdered seven people.

A law enforcement source said yesterday that State Police have heard of the
telephone call and are investigating its connection to the slayings.

The call may have been the final insult for a man squeezed by a tightening
vise of financial worries.

Already informed that the Internal Revenue Service would seize a large
portion of his pay for back taxes, McDermott had a tense confrontation last
week with an Edgewater accountant who rebuffed his plea for a cash advance
and pay raise. The accountant, Rose Manfredi, told McDermott to take his
concerns about money to Edgewater’s president.

Manfredi’s mother said yesterday that her daughter, who handled much of the
company’s billing and payroll, had been so unnerved by McDermott that she
shared her concerns with the family.

”She told me last week, `Mummy, he was kind of nervous,”’ Carmella Manfredi
said. ”She was scared of him.”

On Tuesday, McDermott heard that his car, with a book value of only $5,930,
would be seized for nonpayment of a 1997 loan.

Haverhill police told the Globe they checked McDermott’s Bartlett Street
apartment several times on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning after
his car had been spotted close to a wooded area where gunshots were reported.

Police said two spent shotgun shells were found on the ground near where
McDermott’s car – with the distinctive license plate MUCKO – had been seen. A
young woman said she also saw a man closing the trunk of the car.

”It sort of sends shivers down my spine,” said Haverhill Police Sergeant
Stephen Brighi, who reported that police did not find McDermott at his
apartment that night.

Yesterday, McDermott’s lawyer said he will consider an insanity defense. The
attorney, Kevin J. Reddington, said he will ask experts to determine whether
McDermott’s medication, which sources have said includes Prozac and other
antidepressants, contributed to the rampage.

”The medication is an issue,” Reddington said. ”It will be explored in
this case.”

McDermott, 42, pleaded not guilty to seven counts of first-degree murder at
his arraignment Wednesday in Malden District Court. He is being held without
bail in Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge, pending a Jan. 31 court

Last night, opposite the converted 19th-century mill that houses Edgewater
and other companies, about 800 people filled St. Joseph Catholic Church for
an ecumenical memorial service.

The methodical slaying of seven people at the Internet consulting company
ranks as one of the worst mass murders in Massachusetts history.

After allegedly shooting two people in the reception area and three employees
in Human Resources, McDermott reportedly reloaded and shot open the locked
door to the accounting office, authorities say.

There, he allegedly shot Paul Marceau, 36, of Melrose, three times in the
chest, as Marceau tried to scurry away on his back. Manfredi, 48, was hit
twice in the legs before a shotgun blast to the head ended her life. Another
woman in the room may have survived only because she hid underneath her desk
and behind a coat on her chair.

The other victims were Jennifer Bragg Capobianco, 29, of Brighton; Janice
Hagerty, 46, of Stoneham; Louis Javelle, 58, of Nashua; Cheryl Troy, 50, of
Beverly; and Craig Wood, 29, of Haverhill.

Manfredi, a Lexington resident who handed out paychecks every two weeks,
appears to have been a prime target. Investigators said McDermott allegedly
used both an AK-47 assault rifle and a shotgun to shoot her. A rare Spanish
handgun made in 1914 was tucked in his pants, authorities say.

Manfredi’s mother and one of her three sisters, Florence Holleran, said
McDermott and Manfredi ”had words.” Neither woman knew further details of
McDermott’s request.

”Rose said [McDermott] was perturbed at a lot of people when he heard the
IRS was after him,” according to Nat Manfredi, one of four brothers.
”Naturally, he would have gone to the accounting office Tuesday.”

At the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Thomas F. O’Reilly said
Edgewater was preparing to garnishee McDermott’s wages at the direction of
the Internal Revenue Service. Under that plan, McDermott said, he would have
been left with only $275 in pay every two weeks, according to Middlesex
District Attorney Martha Coakley.

IRS officials said that they cannot comment on McDermott’s tax situation, but
that he should not have been surprised by the decision to take part of his
salary. They said McDermott should have received at least two notices, by
mail or in person, informing him that a portion of his wages would be seized,
according to IRS policy.

However, the IRS ensures that debtors are left with enough of their salary to
live on, said Peggy E. Riley, an IRS spokeswoman in Boston. Under IRS
regulations, McDermott also should have been offered an installment plan or
another way to pay off the debt.

Edgewater Technology began grief counseling sessions yesterday for its
employees, about 80 of whom were at work Tuesday. The company plans to
renovate the office and move the accounting department out of the area of the

Shirley Singleton, the president and chief executive officer, said Edgewater
has donated $70,000 to create a foundation at Fleet Bank for the victims’
families. The company also has given each family an additional $5,000 for
immediate costs, a source said.

Outside the brick building yesterday, a makeshift memorial with flowers and a
teddy bear had been set up by co-workers and other mourners.

The concern also extended to Beacon Hill, where a spokesman for Governor Paul
Cellucci predicted that the state’s strict gun restrictions would be
tightened even more.

”We’re in general agreement and general support of strengthening our gun
laws,” said John Birtwell, the governor’s spokesman, who added that
solutions also should be sought on a national level.

Yesterday, the future seemed far away for the Edgewater worker who escaped
death by hiding under her desk. Her nightmare this week, however, was still
too close.

When approached at her home, where flowers and friends were trying to ease
the recent trauma, the woman greeted a reporter with a sad, slow shake of her

”I’m not ready to talk about it,” she said. ”I don’t think I’ll ever talk
about it.”

Patrick Healy, Stephen Kurkjian, Farah Stockman, Rick Klein, Adam Pertman,
and Jamal Watson of the Globe Staff and Globe correspondent Regina Montague
contributed to this report.

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 12/29/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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