83-year-old found not guilty, freed in Wellbutrin case — (King5.com)

Original article no longer available

King5.com

05:18 PM PDT on Tuesday, September 12, 2006

KING5.com

OLYMPIA – Last year a Thurston County woman awoke suddenly as her husband plunged a knife into her neck.

The 83-year old husband was accused of domestic violence and charged with attempted murder.

But his family — including his wife — begged the courts to set him free. It wasn’t domestic violence, they argued, but prescription medication to blame.

Eric Attwood, 83, stabbed his wife of 60 years in the neck last October, but his lawyers argued he was legally insane at the time because of a reaction to the antidepressant Wellbutrin.

Initially, the courts kept him locked up and issued a restraining order keeping him away from his wife, Margaret.

He’s being treated like a criminal and it hurts me it really hurts me because he’s not a criminal, she said.

In August, a judge found Attwood not guilty of attempted murder and on Tuesday, Attwood — alert and taking a different prescription — learned he could go home.

I think you’re looking at the real Eric Atwood this morning, lawyer Jeff Robinson said.

Judge Richard Strophy agreed, but warned Attwood to keep tabs on his medication.

[If] you feel yourself feeling differently you’d better reach out and remove yourself from the premises, before anything like what happened in the past repeats itself, he told Attwood.

KING

Eric Attwood

For Margaret Attwood and their daughter Hilary, relief that their ordeal is nearly over. It’s been a long year for us, but he’s still my husband and I love him very much, she said.

On his release, Eric Attwood already knew something he wanted to do. I’m looking forward to some good food,? he said.

In 2004, the FFDA warned consumers Wellbutrin could increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in adolescents and last year, said it could do the same in adults.