Alberts loses appeal, denied new trial — (The Lincoln Courier)

SSRI Ed note: Man on Lorezepam, Effexor sexually assaults estranged wife, intends suicide, she talks him out of it. Court rejects claim that meds a factor.

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The Lincoln Courier

By Nathan Woodside

Posted Mar. 30, 2012 @ 12:01 am

Editor’s note: Some of this story may not be appropriate for younger readers.   A Lincoln man serving a 111-year sentence for sexually assaulting his wife has been denied a new trial.

Perry Alberts, 60, was convicted in 2002 on 11 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He tied up his estranged wife with the intent to commit suicide in front of her, then sexually assaulted her.

Following his conviction, Alberts filed a series of appeals saying he was involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the crime, and unfit to stand trial. Alberts was on a series of strong psychotropic medications at the time that he says turned him into a “zombie.”  

On Friday, Logan County Circuit Judge Thomas Harris issued his ruling, striking down Alberts’ latest plea for what would be his third trial.   The “involuntary intoxication” defense wasn’t available when he was previously tried. In 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court changed the definition of “involuntarily intoxicated” to include adverse, unwarned side effects from prescription drugs that the accused voluntarily consumes.

An appellate court then ruled the change in law could be used retroactively in a defense, as in the case of Alberts.

In August, the appellate court ruled that Alberts was eligible to be considered for a new trial.  “We feel that the defendant has presented facts raising a bona fide doubt of his fitness to stand trial,” the finding reads. “The court should probe into the trial counsel’s knowledge and related conduct with regard to the defendant’s fitness.”

The case and crime 

In 2000, Alberts suffered from severe depression and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. He was prescribed three medications, including Effexor and lorazepam. His symptoms continued to worsen and included delusions, tremors and trouble dealing with reality.   Doctors continued to up the medication dosage Alberts’ was consuming.

On Sept. 12, 2000, Alberts was sharing a home with his estranged wife. On that date, she told him she had several affairs with other men throughout their marriage.   Alberts then retreated to a barn on their property, retrieving cattle leads and a gun. He returned to the home and forcibly tied his wife to their bed with intent to commit suicide in front of her.

According to court documents, Alberts then sexually assaulted the woman to “shame” her while reciting Bible versus in an attempt to justify his actions. Alberts then put the gun to his head, but his wife was able to convince him not to kill himself. She told him that they could work things out.   After taking three more lorazepam pills, he untied her, apologized, and walked out to timber on his property to drink beer.

The victim called police, and Alberts was arrested that night. He was intoxicated when police took him into custody.