|Prozac May Have Fueled
Press, Wed 17 Apr 2002
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Mass. (AP) — A man on trial for killing seven co-workers
tripled his dosage of Prozac before the shootings, a move that
may have heightened his rage and sparked the shooting spree, a
defense psychiatrist testified Wednesday.
Joseph said Michael McDermott suffers from paranoid
schizophrenia and other mental disorders that made him unable
to understand that what he was doing was wrong when he opened
fire at Edgewater Technology on Dec. 26, 2000.
Prosecutors contend McDermott killed his colleagues
because he was angry over the company's decision to withhold
some of his salary to pay back taxes.
But Joseph said
McDermott told him that he had increased his dosage of Prozac
by Dec. 1, first from 70 milligrams per day to 140 milligrams,
and then to 210 milligrams. Joseph said McDermott increased
the dosage without his doctor's permission or advice.
``It's very possible that Prozac is the final piece of
the puzzle that explains the level of rage and anger that
allowed the killings to occur,'' Joseph said.
Prozac acts as an antidepressant, potential side effects
include restlessness, agitation, psychosis, rage, anger and
Joseph acknowledged he could not say to ``a
reasonable degree of medical certainty'' what effect the
increased dosage had on McDermott.
prosecutors planned to cross-examine Joseph.
Prosecutors also plan to call witnesses to support
their theory that McDermott concocted an elaborate tale to
make himself look insane to the jury.
On the witness
stand last week, McDermott, a 43-year-old software engineer,
said he believed he killed Nazis — not his co-workers.
He said St. Michael the Archangel appeared to him
before the killings and told him he could prevent the
Holocaust and earn a soul if he traveled back in time to 1940
and killed Adolf Hitler and six German generals.
testimony Wednesday, a defense psychologist said that a
psychological test he gave McDermott in November indicates he
is not feigning symptoms of mental illness.
Anthony Kalinowski said the test results showed an eccentric,
depressed and angry man who blames others for his problems.
McDermott has said he researched symptoms of mental
illness for years so he could appear sane to doctors and so
that he could get the types of antidepressants he preferred.
Under cross-examination, Kalinowski acknowledged that
McDermott's knowledge of the test could have improved his
ability to manipulate the results.
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