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Friday, October 21, 2011

Judge says Prozac factor in teen murder

Winnipeg Free Press
Sympatico.ca News

WINNIPEG - A Manitoba judge says a Winnipeg teen was driven to fatally stab another teen due to the adverse effects of an anti-depressant drug.

Provincial court Judge Robert Heinrichs agreed to keep the case in youth court, where the male youth now faces a maximum sentence of just four more years behind bars on the charge of second-degree murder.

Heinrichs said Friday the use of Prozac resulted in “unique circumstances” which he was forced to consider.

He described how the youth, who was 16 at the time of the stabbing in 2009, went from a loving, happy-go-lucky kid to a dark, depressed drug abuser who began to act out violently and even tried to harm himself on several occasions.

Heinrichs said it’s clear the youth's parents did the right thing in bringing their concerns to his various doctors, but they were largely ignored and the drug's dosage was increased.

Since his arrest, the youth is now clean of all drugs, has expressed remorse for his actions and greatly reduced his risk to the public.

“His basic normalcy now further confirms he no longer poses a risk of violence to anyone and that his mental deterioration and resulting violence would not have taken place without exposure to Prozac,” Heinrichs said in a written decision.

The entire story can be read here.