ANTIDEPRESSANT, COCAINE, DEPAKOTE: Man Kills Mother, 2 Small Children, & Dog

On the morning of May 12, 2008,
Covington was admitted to University Community Hospital for a drug overdose. Tests showed he
had taken cocaine, acetaminophen and salicylate, another anti-inflammatory drug
used for mild to moderate pain, the defense filing states. Doctors also found
tricyclics, which is an antidepressant, and valproic acid, a drug used for
seizures and migraines.

The defense says a psychiatrist who
examined Covington for the case will testify that Covington’s bipolar disorder,
combined with the drugs in his system, rendered him mentally incapable of
forming the intent to commit first-degree murder.

Mental health defense pursued

By ELAINE
SILVESTRINI

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

Published: February 2, 2010

TAMPA – A man charged with killing
and mutilating his girlfriend and her two children should not face the death
penalty because he was mentally incapable of intending to commit first-degree
murder, his attorneys say.

Lisa Freiberg and her children,
Heather Savannah, 2, and Zachary, 7, were found slain inside their Lutz mobile
home in 2008. The
family dog was also killed.

The deaths were so grisly that
investigators could not identify the bodies by looking at them.

Authorities say Edward Covington was
found huddled in a closet in the mobile home with blood on his hands, feet and
back.

The killings took place between 6
and 11 a.m. May 11, 2008, and it appeared Covington had stayed in the home
overnight, investigators say. He told detectives he killed Freiberg and her
children, according to court records.

Covington’s public
defenders
are asking a judge to allow them to
present evidence at trial about his mental condition at the time of the killings
and his mental health history, which they say dates to when he was
15.

A defense court filing says
Covington, 37, does not intend to use an insanity defense, which would be aimed
at seeking a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Rather, the defense
hopes to persuade jurors to convict Covington of the lesser offense of
second-degree murder, making him ineligible for the death penalty.

Covington, his attorneys say, has
been diagnosed with bipolar disorder; a therapist who examined Covington in
2005, when he was working as a state corrections officer, described “classic
symptoms of rage and anger, and episodes of severe depression.”

On the morning of May 12, 2008,
Covington was admitted to
University Community Hospital for a drug overdose. Tests showed he
had taken cocaine, acetaminophen and salicylate, another anti-inflammatory drug
used for mild to moderate pain, the defense filing states. Doctors also found
tricyclics, which is an antidepressant, and valproic acid, a drug used for
seizures and migraines.

The defense says a psychiatrist who
examined Covington for the case will testify that Covington’s bipolar disorder,
combined with the drugs in his system, rendered him mentally incapable of
forming the intent to commit first-degree murder.

The charges against Covington
include three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of abuse of a dead
human body and one count of felony animal cruelty. Prosecutors are seeking the
death penalty.

Covington is being held without
bail.

According to the defense filing,
Covington tried to shoot himself in the head and was hospitalized under the
state’s Baker Act when he was 16. The next year, he overdosed on
drugs

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Father Kills Wife, 2 Small Children & Self: UT

Paragraphs 22 and 23 read:  “Natasha Matern said her
father was distraught over the separation. Last week, he checked
himself into LDS Hospital for depression and remained there a few
days,
Natasha Matern said. When he left, the hospital prescribed
an anti-depressant,
she said.”

“Both Natasha Matern and
Merkley said they had never known Justin Matern to be violent.
Natasha Matern said her father had a concealed carry permit because the family
used to live in what they thought was a dangerous neighborhood in Salt Lake
City.”

http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_14034390

Money problems put stress on couples, and Justin and Melissa Matern were
one of those couples.

Melissa Matern was constantly trying to find rent
and grocery money, one of her former co-workers said Saturday. Justin Matern’s
daughter said he pawned pool cues and his wife asked him to sell more.

Even Justin Matern’s final text message to his surviving family
discussed money.

“My dad’s never been a horrible guy,” said Natasha
Matern. “He just snapped.”

Justin Matern on Thursday shot and killed his
wife, Melissa, then murdered their sons, 6-year-old Gabriel and 4-year-old
Raiden. Matern, 36, then killed himself.

The killings occurred at the
West Jordan apartment Melissa Matern and the boys moved to after leaving her
husband. Justin Matern left a note at work discussing his plans and sent text
messages after the killings.

Natasha Matern, a 16-year-old daughter from
one of Justin Matern’s previous relationships, said her father sent his sister a
text message saying he killed them and he was next. The text also said his
sister could expect a check to pay for the funerals, Natasha Matern said. It was
unclear whether Justin Matern was discussing an insurance policy or something
else.

“Nobody knew what he was going to do,” said Natasha Matern.
“Everybody was shocked. A lot of people even talked to him that day or the day
before and he was laughing.”

Melissa Matern told Jennifer Geneile
Merkley, one of her former co-workers, there were problems in the marriage.
Merkley said Melissa complained her husband was not home often enough to help
with parenting and chores.

Instead, Justin Matern would hang out with
his friends and stay away from home, Merkley said. Meanwhile, Melissa, a
certified nurse’s assistant, worked two jobs and a total of 60 to 70 hours a
week, Merkley said.

Merkley, who worked with Melissa at Woodland Park
Care Center in Salt Lake City, said Melissa would leave the third shift there to
go to work at another nursing home.

“She was constantly trying to put
together rent money or grocery money,” Merkley said.

Justin Matern
“wasn’t the greatest of men,” Merkley said. “He didn’t put his family ahead of
anything else.”

Court records show the state placed a tax lien against
Justin and Melissa Matern in 2004 and again in 2008. In 2006, a judge issued a
$700 judgement against the couple in a debt-collection case. Records show the
family had at least four addresses since 2003.

Natasha Matern said her

father also worked two jobs. He was a tattoo artist at a parlor in Salt Lake
City and also loaded freight for a shipping company. The shipping company
recently laid him off, she said.

Justin Marten was a good pool player
and collected cues, his daughter said. He pawned some of the cues to raise
money, and Natasha Matern wanted her husband to pawn his hunting bow, too, she
said.

“Even though she knew my dad didn’t have that much money, she
still tried to get him to pawn his own things,” she said.

Natasha Matern
lived with her father and stepmother for many years and watched her brothers for
several hours a day, the teenager said. Natasha Matern said she grew tired of
baby-sitting so much.

“I tried to talk to them about it,” she said, “but
they would tell me if I wanted stuff I would have to baby-sit so they could earn
money.”

A few months ago, the teenager moved in with her mother in
Ogden.

Merkley said Melissa Matern threatened to leave her husband
several times, but stayed. Merkley does not know what finally persuaded Melissa
Matern to leave.

Natasha Matern said her father was distraught over the
separation. Last week, he checked himself into LDS Hospital for depression and
remained there a few days, Natasha Matern said. When he left, the hospital
prescribed an anti-depressant, she said.

Both Natasha Matern and Merkley
said they had never known Justin Matern to be violent. Natasha Matern said her

father had a concealed carry permit because the family used to live in what they
thought was a dangerous neighborhood in Salt Lake City.

Merkley said
she’s angry at Justin Matern and her one comfort is her belief that anyone who
commits suicide “burns in Hell.”

“How could you look at your own flesh
and blood and pull the trigger on a 4-year-old?” Merkley said.

Natasha
Matern said she thinks her father decided to kill his wife and himself and
killed the boys because he did not want them to grow up in a foster home. She
does not believe the murders were justified, but understands what he was
thinking.

“I’m mad but there’s also nothing I can do,” she said.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: DID A DRUG LEAD TO KILLING? IRELAND

http://www.irishtimes.com/

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Did a drug lead to killing?

KATE
HOLMQUIST

Shane Clancy’s mother and stepfather alleged on ‘The Late Late Show’ that
antidepressants caused him to stab three people, and then himself. However, no
medical research has ever linked these drugs to homicide

ON AUGUST 16th, 22-year-old Sebastian Creane from Bray, Co Wicklow, was
fatally stabbed by Shane Clancy, who also injured Sebastian’s brother Dylan and
Jennifer Hannigan, Clancy’s ex-girlfriend. On October 2nd, Shane Clancy’s mother
and stepfather, also from Bray, appeared on The Late Late Show to
argue that in their view Shane’s behaviour was so uncharacteristic that it could
only be explained by the fact that he had been taking antidepressants.

“The conversation gave the impression that antidepressants increase the risk
for homicide. There is absolutely no link between taking antidepressants and
homicidal behaviour,” says Dr Jogin Thakore, clinical director of psychiatry in
the HSE’s Dublin North Central district.

Dr Justin Brophy, a consultant psychiatrist in Co Wicklow agrees, adding: “I
would be extremely concerned that following The Late Late Show ,
people who have been prescribed antidepressants would stop taking them, and that
people who need to take them in order to function in their lives will feel
stigmatised, and may even hide the fact that they are taking them. The stakes
are very high here because people’s lives and people’s health will be seriously
compromised and endangered by misleading and imbalanced advice.”

After hundreds of scientific studies and independent evaluation by the US
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EU and the Irish Medicines Board (IMB),
antidepressants have probably come under more scrutiny than most drugs on the
market. The worst you can say of them is that in the under-25 age group they are
linked to increased “suicidal ideation” – as in thoughts of suicide – but they
have not yet been shown to cause suicides.

Yet there are many people who refuse to accept the evidence. Just type
antidepressants violence” into your web browser, and you will find hundreds of
sites with anecdotal claims that troubled adolescents (keep in mind that the
mind is adolescent until the age of 25 or even 30) became violent after taking

antidepressants.

The College of Psychiatrists in Ireland refused an invitation to participate
in the The Late Late Show on October 2nd.

“Making antidepressants the focus of this tragic situation was a serious
hijacking of two families’ grief and of the facts, while the facts of the case
have yet to be established. We thought it was unethical to parade the issue of

antidepressants in front of a bereaved family who had been hijacked for the sake
of the argument. We also had misgivings that another brave family was not
represented,” says Dr Brophy.

Dr Brophy believes the “sensationalistic” misinformation peddled by media and
special interest groups about antidepressants amounts to “scientific bullying”.
He says, “A small group of people with a particular agenda aim to completely
decimate the facts, manipulating methodologies for their own ends. The legal
industry is also heavily invested. Those interests are not declared and
expressed in websites and sensationalist media reports. It represents a form of
scientific bullying.”

Dr Michael Corry stated on The Late Late Show that he had seen
Shane Clancy’s parents twice as their psychiatrist and was in the green room
with them beforehand, he then said of antidepressants that: “The side effects
which are recognised can tip somebody into suicidal behaviour and homicidal
behaviour. This is well documented.” Two other doctors, both GPs, were also in
the studio audience and did not say on air that there is no scientific proof of
Dr Corry’s view.

When asked whether the item was intended by Clancy’s parents to be a warning
on antidepressants, based on their own beliefs, RTÉ responded that: “As a

policy, RTÉ Television doesn’t discuss the motivations of guests in
participating in any of our shows – that is for them to elucidate. These
discussions are private to the parties involved. However, we can clarify that Ms
Fennell’s concerns about the possible effects antidepressant drugs had on her
son had already been publicly aired – in a letter to the Gerry Ryan
Show
(Wednesday 16 September).

“We felt that the Clancy’s beliefs and comments would lead to a wider
discussion on the approaches to treating depression in Ireland. The item
included mental health experts in the audience who could contribute expert
opinion on antidepressants in particular and mental health care provision in
general. Two expert opinions were offered which differed from Leonie Fennell and
Tony Donnelly’s position and one supported their thesis. Advice was offered to

any viewers currently on antidepressant medication to seek medical advice before
changing any aspect of their treatment. The Aware helpline number was also put
up on screen at the conclusion of the item during The Late Late
Show
on Friday night, for any viewers affected by the discussion.”

IN IRELAND , a reliable source of information is the
IMB, which has the role of evaluating every drug that companies seek to put on
the market here. Evidence presented by the pharmaceutical industry is only one
of the research sources reviewed by the board. Epidemiological studies and
“surveillance” – alerts from doctors prescribing the drug – are also taken into
account. The IMB doesn’t approve anything that the EU and the FDA haven’t
thoroughly investigated first, and it then reviews these investigations with an
objective eye.

In 2006, the IMB reviewed all the current evidence and wrote a warning that
comes on a leaflet inside antidepressant prescription boxes. It states: “If you
are depressed and/or have anxiety disorders you can sometimes have thoughts of
harming or killing yourself. These may be increased when first starting
antidepressants, since these medicines all take time to work, usually about two
weeks but sometimes longer.” It adds that “if you are a young adult, information
from clinical trials has shown an increased risk of suicidal behaviour in adults
aged less than 25 years with psychiatric conditions who are treated with an
antidepressant.”

The warning refers to suicidal behavour, not actual suicides. In August, the
British Medical Journal published a study showing that the risk of
suicide in under-25s on antidepressants was about one in 12,000 – but there was
absolutely no risk of homicidal behaviour. It hasn’t turned up in a single
study.

Some people believe doctors and the pharmaceutical companies work
hand-in-glove to suppress the evidence. Says Dr Brophy: “If there was any
implication of concealment of the truth, the IMB would know it. The facts are
very open and accessible. No one is trying to conceal anything. . . . To imply
[we] are beholden to the pharmaceutical industry is a misrepresentation. We
don’t prescribe based on any information from the pharmaceutical industry – we
get it from the IMB.”

AN ESTIMATED 400,000 people in Ireland suffer with
depression. The WHO has estimated that by 2030, depression will overtake heart
disease as the illness causing the most distress both in terms of individual
suffering and human productivity. Stigmatising depression, by linking its
pharmacological treatment to violent behaviour, can only prevent people from
seeking help, Dr Thakore warns.

How many Irish people take antidepressants? It’s a difficult figure to come
by. More than 1.1 million prescriptions annually for new-generation
antidepressants are paid for by the general medical scheme (GMS), and another
100,000 under the direct payment (DP) scheme.

Dr Harry Barry, a GP and cognitive behavioural therapist, who was in The
Late Late Show
audience that night, says prescription drugs are an
important part, but not all, of the solution for depression. Teenagers,
especially, need someone to listen to them with empathy so that they can tell
the truth about how they feel. Many young people with depression, he says, are
fearful of their parents and friends knowing that they are not the wonderful,
sociable person they think they are; this fear of letting people down can lead
to suicide.

Lifestyle changes are also important – avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs,
improving diet and exercising. The focus should not be on antidepressants, but
on the services, Dr Barry believes. According to a recent report, only 12 per
cent of adolescents with mental health problems have access to a specialist
service.

This article appears in the print edition of the
Irish Times

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