New test may bring relief to those convicted — (Idaho Observer)

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Idaho Observer

January 2009 

FRACKVILLE, PA—New evidence exists in the case of Kurt Dariysh, a Pennnsylvania man who, at the age of eighteen, killed his father in Brooklyn Township, PA (The Idaho Observer, Nov. 2005).

In an appeal filed October 11, 2008, Danysh, who is being represented by Arthur S. Cohen, Esq., of Hollidaysburg, presents new DNA evidence establishing him as a poor metabolizer of Prozac. DNA testing reveals that Danysh is genetically predisposed to suffering a violent reaction to the drug.

Due to a deficiency in the liver enzyme CYP2D6, Danysh is unable to metabolize the active ingredient in Prozac, allowing it to build up in his system.

According to Genelex Corporation, the first laboratory to offer CYP2D6 testing in the U.S., poor metabolizers are at an increased risk of suffering drug-induced side effects from Prozac, which include aggression and violence.

Case history

In 1996, Kurt Danysh shot his father 13 days after being prescribed Prozac. Danysh freely confessed to the shooting, but could offer no reason for his actions. In his confession to the police, Danysh stated, “This might sound weird, but it felt like something else, like I had no control over what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun. It felt like someone else shot him.”

Witness testimony confirmed a drastic and violent change in Danysh’s behavior after being prescribed Prozac. In the week preceding the killing, Danysh fought with a friend, slapped his girlfriend, and intentionally crashed his truck into a stone wall.

When contacted by investigators in 1996, Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, insisted the drug would not cause aggressive behavior.  Danysh was subsequently convicted of murdering his father and sentenced to 22.5 to 60 years in prison.

Kurt is not alone

Since 2000, criminal defendants in multiple jurisdictions have been acquitted of violent crimes, including homicide, due to the effects of antidepressants.

In 2005, Eli Lilly issued a medication guide for Prozac, which cautions that patients taking the drug should be closely monitored for “acting aggressive, being angry or violent, thoughts about suicide or dying and acting on dangerous impulses.”

A new trial for Danysh

In his appeal, Danysh argues that his after-discovered evidence—evidence unavailable at the time of the trial—supports his innocence of the charge of third-degree murder and establishes that he was involuntarily intoxicated from the effects of Prozac when he killed his father.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that a defendant is involuntarily intoxicated where unexpected intoxication results from a medically-prescribed drug and/or where a defendant suffers from an unknown physiological condition that renders him abnormally susceptible to a legal intoxicant. When successfully presented, involuntary intoxication negates culpability and results in acquittal.

In addition to requesting a new trial, Danysh has called for the recusal of trial judge Kenneth Seamans. Danysh alleges that Seamans committed legal and factual errors when he denied Danysh’s 2003 appeal.

Note: Since 2000, there have been dozens of acquittals and reversals in cases where murders were accomplished or attempted by people under the influence of state-ordered or doctor prescribed anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Adderall, Zoloft, Haldol and Wellbutrin. However, hundreds more, many of them minors at the time, have been tried, convicted and sentenced as adults and are currently serving long prison sentences for violent crimes committed under the influence of court-ordered or doctor-prescribed “anti-depressants.” Danysh, who is now 31, founded the SAVE project in 2004. From a Pennsylvania prison, he has been working tirelessly to alert the public to the dangers of anti-depressant drugs and to free those imprisoned for crimes committed while under the involuntarily intoxicated influence of state-ordered and/or doctor-prescribed mind-altering drugs.

To find out more about the travesty of ruining young minds with dangerous prescription drugs then ruining their lives with prison sentences, go to www.thesaveproject.org. Please also consider writing Danysh: Kurt Danysh DL-4879, 1111 Altamont, Blvd, Frackville, PA 17931.

 

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Judge dismisses murderer’s lawsuit claiming Prozac prompted him to murder his father

The Patriot-News

 By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com 

September 25, 2011 at 12:04 AM, updated September 25, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Kurt Danysh won’t get a chance to argue in federal court that the anti-depressant drug Prozac prompted him to murder his father 15 years ago.   A simple matter of timing has short-circuited a lawsuit the Susquehanna County convict lodged in U.S. Middle District Court against one of the world’s largest drug manufacturers.

Danysh waited too long to file his product liability case against Prozac’s maker, Eli Lilly & Co., Judge John E. Jones III ruled in ordering dismissal of the complaint.

A 20 mg version of Prozac, made by Eli Lilly and Co. Eli Lilly officials have denied any links between Prozac and homicidal behavior. They have insisted that the drug, which was introduced in the U.S. in 1987, reduces violent tendencies.

Danysh, 33, is serving a 22½-to-60-year sentence at the state prison at Frackville. He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder a year after his father’s slaying. Numerous appeals of his conviction have failed.

In filing suit against Eli Lilly a year ago, Danysh repeated a claim he has made since he was arrested for slaying his dad with a stolen gun in 1996 — that he was under the influence of Prozacand out of control when he pulled the trigger.

Eli Lilly officials have denied any links between Prozac and homicidal behavior. They have insisted that the drug, which was introduced in the U.S. in 1987, reduces violent tendencies.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration requires that Prozac’s labeling include a warning that anti-depressant drugs can cause suicidal thoughts in some children, teens and young adults.

Danysh was 18 when he shot his father. He claimed that he had started taking Prozac by prescription shortly before the killing.

His suit originally was filed against Eli Lilly in Dauphin County Court, but the drug maker, which is based in Indiana, had it transferred it to federal court.

In voiding Danysh’s complaint, Jones agreed with federal Magistrate Judge Mildred E. Methvin, who evaluated the case, that the suit was filed outside the two-year statute of limitations allowed in Pennsylvania for lodging such cases.

Eli Lilly had urged dismissal on those grounds, noting that Danysh has been making his allegations regarding Prozac since 1996. The drug maker argued that the statute of limitations began running at that time.

Danysh, who represented himself in the case, argued in vain that the time limit should not have begun ticking until 2008. That was when he received DNA test results showing he has a liver enzyme deficiency that leaves him at risk of “violent Prozac-induced behavior,” he said.

Jones concluded that Danysh’s attempt to make 2008 the starting point for the statute “is contrary to the position taken by Danysh throughout his criminal case that Prozac caused him to shoot his father.”

When Danysh filed his suit, Roseann B. Termini, an adjunct professor and food and drug law expert at Widener Law School, cited it as being among a handful of court cases over claims that anti-depressants prompted someone to kill.

Such cases are difficult to prove because there is little, if any means to link the use of those drugs to violent behavior in a specific person, she said.

One such case was fought out in state court in Kentucky over a mass killing by a Prozac user in September 1989.

Joseph T. Wesbecker, a Prozac user who was on disability for mental illness, fatally shot eight people at a Louisville printing company where he had worked, then killed himself.

Survivors of the shooting sued Eli Lilly, but a jury ruled in favor of the firm. Years later it was learned that the company and plaintiffs reached a confidential settlement before the trial ended.