|| Timeline of Events ||
Kurt confesses to shooting his father. He can provide no reason for the shooting, except to describe the violent behavior he has exhibited since being prescribed PROZAC Thirteen days earlier Kurt describes slapping his girlfriend, getting into a fight with his best friend, and purposely crashing his truck into a stone wall hours before the shooting.
After disabling his truck, Kurt wrote bizarre messages on his broken windshield with permanent marker. Kurt describes these messages as a physical representation of what it was like inside of his head at the time.
Investigators contact Eli Lily Corporation, the manufacturers of PROZAC, with regards to obtaining information concerning the effects of PROZAC. The investigator is referred to an attorney, not a researcher or a doctor, who states that "the subject medication would not cause aggressive behavior"
A psychiatrist, employed by the prosecution, issues a report stating" Numerous well controlled studies have been done to investigate the potential for PROZAC contributing to violent behavior and these studies have not shown any valid correlation between the use of PROZAC and violent behavior"
During a court hearing, witnesses describe Kurt's violent behavioral changes while taking PROZAC.
Kurt's attorney Mr. Ackourey meets with Kurt at the county jail where Kurt has been incarcerated for 18 months. During this meeting Mr. Ackourey informs Kurt that there is no evidence available to support the claims that PROZAC could cause violent behavior and that Kurt should plead guilty to third degree murder. Kurt refuses.
Mr. Ackourey produces graphic crime scene photographs. These photographs include images of Kurt's fathers body at the scene of the crime and during autopsy. Kurt is left alone in a room with these images. When Mr. Ackourey returns, Kurt is sobbing. Mr. Ackourey informs Kurt that if he refuses to plead guilty his family will be forced to view these images at trial and that the only way he can avoid causing them the pain would be to plead guilty.
Kurt agrees to plead guilty and is immediately driven to the courthouse to enter a formal guilty plea.
In spite of being informed that Kurt is under the influence of two major tranquilizers (usually prescribed to schizophrenic patients) , Kurt's plea is accepted by the court.
During his sentencing hearing, Kurt is permitted to address the court and his family. He uses the opportunity to express his remorse and apologizes to his family. He also holds steadfast to his assertion that he was not in control on the day of the shooting. He states "If I was in control that day , it would never have happened ". Kurt is sentenced to 22.5 to 60 years in a maximum security prison.
Kurt receives an expert opinion from Daniel H. Marks ,MD, PHD, informing him that PORZAC can cause violent behavior, Dr. Marks also indicates that ELI LILY's statement to investigators and the report from the prosecutor's psychiatrists "are inaccurate statements and go against a wide body of scientific literature to the contrary.
May 23, 2003
Kurt files an appeal, Pro se, alleging newly discovered evidence, unlawfully induced guilty plea, and ineffective assistance of counsel.
The same judge who sentenced Kurt to 22.5 to 60 years in prison denies Kurt's appeal as "untimely" The court further opines that a " Prozac defense " does not exist in the Commonwealth"
The Supreme court of Pennsylvania notes that the defense of involuntary intoxication is available where " unexpected intoxication results from a medically prescribed drug" Commonwealth V Smith 831A 2d 636 (Pa. Super 2003)
The FDA orders an advisory committee to hold a hearing to investigate the effectiveness and possible dangers associated with antidepressants drugs. Committee member, Jean Bronstrin concludes " I am seeing ( antidepressants ) as an apparent link to either homicidal or suicidal behavior from the testimony this morning and from what I have read as well.
FDA issues a Public Health Advisory, cautioning that
antidepressants can cause "anxiety, agitation , panic attacks,
insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia, (
severe restlessness ) Hypomania and mania in patients.
May 27, 2004
A study, entitled "suicidality, violence and mania caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( SSRI's ) . A review and analysis is published in the international journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine which reports that SSRI's, including PROZAC can cause violence, suicide, mania and other forms of psychotic and bizarre behavior in some patients.
The FDA orders pharmaceutical companies to add a "BLACK BOX WARNING" to antidepressants, saying these drugs could cause suicidal thinking and behavior and other unusual changes in behavior in children and teenagers. The agency also directs the manufacturers to print and distribute medication guides with every antidepressant prescription and to inform patients of the following risks;
acting aggressive, being angry or violent
acting on dangerous impulses
new or worse irritability
thought about suicide or dying
attempts to commit suicide
other unusual changes in behavior
The Commission of the European Communities, representing 25 countries, issues its decision to endorse and issue the strongest yet against child antidepressant use as recommended by the Europe's Committee for Medical Products for Human Use.( CHMP )
This follows a review of clinical trials that shoed the drugs cause suicidal behavior including suicide attempts and suicidal ideation, aggression, hostility and / or related behavior.
A study entitled " antidepressants and Violence ; Problems at the interface of Medicine and Law , is published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS ) which reports that in addition to self - harm, antidepressants can also cause people to become violent and homicidal.
FDA revises its "BLACK BOX " warning and medication guide to include young adults (18 to 24 years old ).
During Kurt's 10 years of his incarceration , Kurt has earned many educational achievements, Getting his GED and moving on to receiving his degree in paralegal.
Because of Kurt's outstanding record while incarcerated he also applied and received a full 4 year college scholarship, and is on his way in earning another degree.
Through Kurt's 10 years of incarceration he has remained committed to the fact, that if it were not for the drugs , his father would be alive today.
As we fight for the truth still in 2008 , for truthful clinical trials and medication guide inserts for patient / parents we also must fight for our judicial laws to be changed when it comes to first offenders, mandatory sentencing and to insure all circumstances involved be migating factors in a case especially when it involves dangers psychotic drugs.
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