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September 15, 2015
The Associated Press
LINCOLN, Neb. — A Nebraska man convicted of killing his girlfriend in 2002 is blaming an antidepressant for his actions and requesting his case be re-examined by a judge.
Randall Robbins pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Brittany Eurek and was sentenced to 40 to 60 years in prison.
Robbins claims the antidepressant Zoloft, which was prescribed to him for depression in 2002 by a Lincoln doctor, played a key role in what was supposed to be a murder-suicide, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1idyDj0 ) reported.
Attorney Rob Kortus of the Nebraska Commission of Public Advocacy, who’s representing Robbins, said DNA testing conducted this year shows genetics prevents Robbins from metabolizing Zoloft as intended by its manufacturer. Kortus contends that can lead to violent outbursts and suicidal behavior, something the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of in 2007, in young adults between 18 and 24 during initial treatment.
In 2009, Robbins successfully sued drug manufacturer Pfizer and the doctor who prescribed Zoloft to him.
He requested DNA testing in 2011, without providing a reason, and the request initially was denied but came up again in a motion for post-conviction relief. Robbins then specifically sought DNA Drug Reaction Profile Testing, using the state’s DNA Testing Act, to determine whether he was among some 10 percent of people who are poor metabolizers of Zoloft.
Kortus plans to argue that the test results indicate that Robbins should be released from prison, granted a new trial or re-sentenced with the new evidence taken into consideration.
A judge could find that the evidence doesn’t rise to the level to warrant any of those steps.
Briefs are expected to be submitted in October and November.