Paragraph one reads: “Steven Foster, the man accused of the brutal slaying of gas station attendant Hegazy Sayed, had prescriptions for at least two anti-depressant drugs leading up to Sunday night’s shooting.”
Paragraph four reads: “Aviles, who helps out in the rental/ management office of Bristol Lodging Sober House a 15-unit rooming house at 68 Broadway where Foster had been living alone was able to identify two of the meds as Cymbalta and Trazodone.”
“Both drugs are anti-depressants.”
Murder suspect had Rx meds
By Charles Winokoor, Staff Writer
GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 31, 2009 @ 12:06 AM
Steven Foster, the man accused of the brutal slaying of gas station attendant Hegazy Sayed, had prescriptions for at least two anti-depressant drugs leading up to Sunday night’s shooting.
Marlene Aviles said that when she cleaned out the single-room, efficiency apartment that Foster had rented the three weeks prior to the execution-style killing, she retrieved “six or seven” containers left on top of the refrigerator all of them bearing Foster’s name and all nearly full of prescription pills.
Aviles, who helps out in the rental/ management office of Bristol Lodging Sober House a 15-unit rooming house at 68 Broadway where Foster had been living alone was able to identify two of the meds as Cymbalta and Trazodone.
Both drugs are anti-depressants.
Trazodone, in particular, is also used for sleeplessness and chronic pain.
Aviles also said that Foster had mentioned to her that he suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that affects the feet and legs and sometimes the arms and upper body.
A woman answering the front door Thursday at the Dighton house where Foster’s ex-girlfriend and young son reportedly both live refused to identify herself but she did confirm that Foster had been prescribed anti-depressants and that he suffers from Guillain-Barré syndrome.
According to Taunton District Court records, an abuse protection order request on behalf of Christine Lima of Dighton was formally filed against Foster on Oct. 26, the day after the shooting and also the day that he was charged with murder, armed robbery, intimidating a witness and possession of an illegal firearm, the latter of which police say was a stolen .22-caliber rifle.
The 10 p.m. shooting of Sayed, a 45-year-old Egyptian immigrant who is survived by a wife in Taunton and four children in Egypt, was especially abhorrent to many people for its sudden brutality.
Authorities allege that Foster, instead of walking into the gas station office and demanding money, pre-emptively opened fire through a glass door hitting Sayed once in the head.
He next walked in, pumped a second bullet into Sayed’s head while he lay on the floor and made off with $15, according to the Bristol County DA’s office.
Less than five minutes later Foster allegedly was captured on surveillance footage walking barefoot into a nearby CVS store and then exiting with a pair of slippers.
Authorities say he lost his shoes after the shooting when he ran into some woods to change his clothes.
Foster’s Guillain-Barré syndrome, which besides producing weakness and tingling in the feet and legs can in some cases leads to paralysis, could have contributed to a state of depression, said Dr. Harvey Reback, a Fall River-based internal medicine physician.
Reback, who likened the advanced effects of the disorder to those of polio, said that someone with an existing psychotic diagnosis, who feels better after taking an anti-depressant and then stops, can be courting disaster.
Upon hearing some of the details of the Sayed shooting case, Reback immediately drew an analogy to the brutal stabbing attack earlier this week on a female psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“It’s my gut feeling that he may not have been taking his medicine,” he said of the MGH assault.
In the Boston incident the attacker was shot to death by an off-duty guard, but not before grievously injuring his vicitm.
“If someone is crazy to begin with and they’re not taking their medicine, they can go off the deep end,” Reback said.
Bristol County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Gregg Miliote, when asked to comment on the possibility that Foster was off his meds the night of the shooting, said that he had no information pertaining to the defendant’s use of prescription pills.
“I’m not aware of any mental health issues,” Miliote said.
Foster, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear for a probable cause hearing on Nov. 20.
Miliote said that although the DA’s office has a strong case, it could take as long as two years before the trial gets underway, not unusual when it comes to trials that can lead to very lengthy sentences.
“Look at the Elizabeth Smart case, they just started the trial,” he said, referring to the 14-year Utah girl who in 2002 was kidnapped by a husband and wife, and then allegedly raped repeatedly by her male captor until being rescued nine months later.