Report: Man Killed Family Due To Money Issues, Depression — (WPBF 25)

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WPBF 25 West Palm Beach

Offense Report Details Neal Jacobson’s Confession To Killing Wife, 2 Sons

POSTED: 12:33 pm EST March 13, 2010

WELLINGTON, Fla. —  New details of a slaying in Wellington were released this week.

According to investigators’ reports, a mix of money problems and depression caused a father to kill his wife and two sons in January.

Neal Jacobson’s offense report runs well over 300 pages. In them, he told investigators that on Jan. 22, he kissed his sons, Eric and Joshua, goodnight and fell asleep next to his wife, Franki, in their Wellington home. However, he said, he didn’t sleep well, and at 6 a.m. on the 23rd, he woke up and “just flipped out.”

The offense report said that Jacobson had $250,000 in credit card debt and three of his four properties were in foreclosure.

Investigators said that Jacobson’s wife pleaded for her life when he took a gun out of the closet.

“I have no other way. There is no other way,” Jacobson told his wife, according to investigators. “We are going down. We all have to go.”

His wife said she wanted to live and wanted the boys to live, but according to Jacobson, he shot her three times and then shot the boys while they slept.

Fire Rescue crews found Jacobson a short time later on U.S. 441 near Delray Beach, slumped over the wheel of his SUV. They said he had a gun on the passenger seat, which they removed, and when they woke him, he reached out several times looking for the gun and told rescuers, “I shot my family.”

Investigators said Jacobson also admitted he had taken 10 Xanax pills, hoping to kill himself.

Back at his home, detectives found antidepressant prescriptions, paperwork from a walk-in clinic where he admitted himself for depression Jan. 2 and a letter that was dated and signed by Jacobson in which he indicated he was struggling financially and planning on ending his family’s lives because he didn’t want them to be destitute.

An investigator told Jacobson that just because he had financial problems, it didn’t give him the right to kill his family, and Jacobson agreed.

Even though Jacobson confessed to investigators, he submitted a plea of not guilty. The state attorney’s office plans to pursue the death penalty.

Convicted Wellington murderer sues drug makers, doctors, saying anti-depressants made him kill his family

Story by Marc Freeman / Sun Sentinel Posted by Scott T. Smith / CBS12 News Neal Jacobson shot his wife in the head, then shot his twin 7-year-old boys to death while they slept.
As the tragedy’s four-year anniversary approaches next week, who does he say is to blame? The pharmacies and doctors who prescribed him antidepressants.
Jacobson, a failed mortgage broker, is serving three life sentences in state prison. Now he wants to hold the health care establishment totally responsible for the deaths in a series of multimillion-dollar civil lawsuits.
Serving as his own attorney, Jacobson, 53, also filed motions last spring asking the court to revisit an insanity defense. Jacobson claims he was forced by his former public defender to accept a plea deal in early 2012, a time he was on psychiatric drugs and his mind foggy.
But the prosecutor on the case said the defendant was “fully aware” when pleading guilty to the slayings, and would have faced the death penalty had he gone to trial. A formal objection from the State Attorney’s Office is pending.
In November and December, Jacobson filed six civil complaints in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, seeking a total of $150 million in damages. All feature versions of the same argument: anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs he was taking at the time of the murders are to blame for what happened, and Jacobson was left devastated by the loss of his wife of nearly 20 years and his sons.
Jacobson, who is serving his sentences at Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown, is suing two area doctors, Mitchell Perelman and Pierre Andre, who allegedly treated Jacobson; CVS Caremark Corp., whose pharmacy allegedly dispensed the pills; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, which allegedly insured the Jacobsons for medical care; Wellington Medstat, an urgent care center that allegedly treated Jacobson; and Pfizer, Inc., the pharmaceutical giant that makes Zoloft and Xanax.
None of the defendants have been served with the lawsuits, according to court records. Such civil claims are not uncommon, experts say, but few juries around the nation have awarded damages to plaintiffs that have blamed psychiatric drugs.
“These are very difficult cases and very hard to win,” said Dr. Peter Breggin of Ithaca, N.Y., a psychiatrist who has testified as a national expert on behalf of individuals suing drug companies and physicians. He has not been involved with Jacobson’s criminal or civil cases.
“There’s no question that psychiatric drugs in some cases produce violence” including murders and suicides, said the author of a 2008 book on the topic titled “Medication Madness.” “It’s a real issue.”
In one highly-reported case, a federal jury in Wyoming in 2001 awarded $6.4 million to the survivors of a man who killed his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself just two days after he started to take the antidepressant Paxil. The manufacturer of the drug appealed the verdict and the case was later settled for an undisclosed amount, according to media reports.
Before his rampage, Jacobson left behind letters blaming bad investment decisions — not drugs or doctors — for putting the family in millions of dollars of debt and prompting him to decide to end their lives.
“I myself cannot understand how I can possibly commit such an act, but I can only say I was desperate not to have my family suffer over so many years to come,” Jacobson wrote.
Just hours before Eric and Joshua’s planned birthday party in their gated community home, Jacobson clutched a revolver and confronted his wife, Franki. He shot her twice in the head as she pleaded for her life, court records show.
Jacobson then reloaded and walked over to his sons’ bedrooms, where he shot them multiple times in their heads as they slept.
In the summer of 2011, Jacobson’s attorneys notified the court of their intent to have Jacobson found not guilty by reason of insanity. That changed not long after with the plea agreement for the life sentences. Jacobson last year wrote the deal is “not valid” because his lawyer didn’t help him make “an intelligent choice.”
In the civil lawsuits, Jacobson wrote that on Jan. 2, 2010 he was diagnosed with a “major depressive disorder” and prescribed the psychotropic medications of Zoloft and Xanax. He claims his hypothyroidism was left untreated. On Jan. 23, 2010, three weeks after starting the prescriptions, he carried out the killings.
“Plaintiff has lost the love, affection and support of his wife,” Jacobson wrote. “Plaintiff has lost the love, joy and enjoyment of his twin sons. Plaintiff has lost his freedom, friends, societal acceptance and his capacity for the enjoyment of life.”
Phil Heller, a Boca Raton-based psychologist who has reviewed Jacobson’s writings about his financial woes, said it’s apparent that Jacobson had clearly planned the killings while on the medication. Heller teaches a criminal psychology class at Palm Beach State College.
“It took a lot of thought” by Jacobson, said Heller, who also typically serves as a defense expert. “He consciously wanted to free his children from poverty. That’s why he killed them.”
But Harmik Kazanchian says he wonders whether Jacobson’s civil suits regarding the drugs have some merit and should be examined by a court. He’s married to Sherri Kazanchian, younger sister to Franki and aunt to the Jacobson children.
She and her older sister, Robin Marcel, who accepted the plea deal to provide some closure, should receive compensation if any comes from the lawsuits, not Jacobson, says Harmik Kazanchian.
“Everybody was so busy hating Neal and what he had done, that there may have been a mitigating factor,” Kazanchian, of Las Vegas, said last week. “I am not defending him by any means. All we have been looking for are answers.”Convicted Wellington murderer sues drug makers, doctors, saying anti-depressants made him kill his family

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Convicted Wellington murderer sues drug makers, doctors, saying anti-depressants made him kill his family

CBS12 News

Jan 13, 2014

Story by Marc Freeman,  Sun Sentinel
Posted by Scott T. Smith
Neal Jacobson shot his wife in the head, then shot his twin 7-year-old boys to death while they slept.
As the tragedy’s four-year anniversary approaches next week, who does he say is to blame? The pharmacies and doctors who prescribed him antidepressants.
Jacobson a failed mortgage broker, is serving three life sentences in state prison. Now he wants to hold the health care establishment totally responsible for the deaths in a series of multimillion-dollar civil lawsuits.
Serving as his own attorney, Jacobson, 53, also filed motions last spring asking the court to revisit an insanity defense. Jacobson claims he was forced by his former public defender to accept a plea deal in early 2012, a time he was on psychiatric drugs and his mind foggy.
But the prosecutor on the case said the defendant was “fully aware” when pleading guilty to the slayings, and would have faced the death penalty had he gone to trial. A formal objection from the State Attorney’s Office is pending.
In November and December, Jacobson filed six civil complaints in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, seeking a total of $150 million in damages. All feature versions of the same argument: anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs he was taking at the time of the murders are to blame for what happened, and Jacobson was left devastated by the loss of his wife of nearly 20 years and his sons.
Jacobson, who is serving his sentences at Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown, is suing two area doctors, Mitchell Perelman and Pierre Andre, who allegedly treated Jacobson; CVS Caremark Corp., whose pharmacy allegedly dispensed the pills; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, which allegedly insured the Jacobsons for medical care; Wellington Medstat, an urgent care center that allegedly treated Jacobson; and Pfizer, Inc., the pharmaceutical giant that makes Zoloft and Xanax.
None of the defendants have been served with the lawsuits, according to court records. Such civil claims are not uncommon, experts say, but few juries around the nation have awarded damages to plaintiffs that have blamed psychiatric drugs.
“These are very difficult cases and very hard to win,” said Dr. Peter Breggin of Ithaca, N.Y., a psychiatrist who has testified as a national expert on behalf of individuals suing drug companies and physicians. He has not been involved with Jacobson’s criminal or civil cases.
“There’s no question that psychiatric drugs in some cases product violence” including murders and suicides, said the author of a 2008 book on the topic titled “Medication Madness.” “It’s a real issue.”
In one highly-reported case, a federal jury in Wyoming in 2001 awarded $6.4 million to the survivors of a man who killed his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself just two days after he started to take the antidepressant Paxil. The manufacturer of the drug appealed the verdict and the case was later settled for an undisclosed amount, according to media reports.
Before his rampage, Jacobson left behind letters blaming bad investment decisions — not drugs or doctors — for putting the family in millions of dollars of debt and prompting him to decide to end their lives.
“I myself cannot understand how I can possibly commit such an act, but I can only say I was desperate not to have my family suffer over so many years to come,” Jacobson wrote.
Just hours before Eric and Joshua’s planned birthday party in their gated community home, Jacobson clutched a revolver and confronted his wife, Franki. He shot her twice in the head as she pleaded for her life, court records show.
Jacobson then reloaded and walked over to his sons’ bedrooms, where he shot them multiple times in their heads as they slept.
In the summer of 2011, Jacobson’s attorneys notified the court of their intent to have Jacobson found not guilty by reason of insanity. That changed not long after with the plea agreement for the life sentences. Jacobson last year wrote the deal is “not valid” because his lawyer didn’t help him make “an intelligent choice.”
In the civil lawsuits, Jacobson wrote that on Jan. 2, 2010 he was diagnosed with a “major depressive disorder” and prescribed the psychotropic medications of Zoloft and Xanax. He claims his hypothyroidism was left untreated. On Jan. 23, 2010, three weeks after starting the prescriptions, he carried out the killings.
“Plaintiff has lost the love, affection and support of his wife,” Jacobson wrote. “Plaintiff has lost the love, joy and enjoyment of his twin sons. Plaintiff has lost his freedom, friends, societal acceptance and his capacity for the enjoyment of life.”
Phil Heller, a Boca Raton-based psychologist who has reviewed Jacobson’s writings about his financial woes, said it’s apparent that Jacobson had clearly planned the killings while on the medication. Heller teaches a criminal psychology class at Palm Beach State College.
“It took a lot of thought” by Jacobson, said Heller, who also typically serves as a defense expert. “He consciously wanted to free his children from poverty. That’s why he killed them.”
But Harmik Kazanchian says he wonders whether Jacobson’s civil suits regarding the drugs have some merit and should be examined by a court. He’s married to Sherri Kazanchian, younger sister to Franki and aunt to the Jacobson children.
She and her older sister, Robin Marcel, who accepted the plea deal to provide some closure, should receive compensation if any comes from the lawsuits, not Jacobson, says Harmik Kazanchian.
“Everybody was so busy hating Neal and what he had done, that there may have been a mitigating factor,” Kazanchian, of Las Vegas, said last week. “I am not defending him by any means. All we have been looking for are answers.”