Woman charged with attempting to kill teens is denied bond — (The St. Augustine Record)

SSRI Ed note: Woman on 5 medications including Prozac and Valium tried to run down 3 teenagers with her car, seriously injuring one. Mental illness is blamed.

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The St. Augustine Record

By RICHARD PRIOR, Staff Writer

Published Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A St. Augustine woman charged with attempting to murder three brothers by running them down with her sport utility vehicle “is not my Kathy, that’s not my wife,” sobbed her husband of 22 years.

“Anybody who knows her knows that’s not her,” said Rick Allen, whose wife was denied bond Monday after being formally charged with three counts of attempted murder. “I don’t know what it was. Something must have gone wrong there.”

Kathy Allen, 47, of 1145 S. Scenic Way, has been under the constant care of the St. Johns County Health Department for eight years for paranoid schizophrenia, her husband said.

“She has gone there every three months for her checkups,” he said. “She hasn’t had any problems at all.”

Allen was arrested Sunday afternoon after she allegedly hit two teenagers with her Chevy Blazer in the West Gate Plaza parking lot.

Isiah Grayer, 13, was flown by air ambulance to Shands Jacksonville Hospital on Sunday afternoon with “extreme brain injuries,” St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kevin Cronin told Tinlin.

In an operation Sunday night, surgeons “removed a large portion of his skull to allow for all the swelling,” Cronin said.

Isiah’s brother, 16-year-old Justin Marshman, was diagnosed with a skull fracture, but his injuries “are not life-threatening,” Cronin added.

Justin’s twin, Jamel Marshman, reportedly told officers that he, too, had been a target but managed to get out of the car’s way.

Witnesses told police that the brothers were bouncing a golf ball and “possibly struck her vehicle with the ball accidentally,” Cronin said. “She was actually leaving the parking area and turned her vehicle around, accelerated, struck two of the boys (and) attempted to strike the third.

“The eyewitnesses all described the accident as absolutely a deliberate act.”

Witnesses also told him that, after the SUV went into a ditch, Allen got out of the car “and very nonchalant began smoking a cigarette,” said Cronin. “She didn’t ask about anybody who was injured, didn’t show any kind of care whatsoever.”

The detective said he had spent “a lot of time” with the family, who is “very concerned that this lady is going to be out. They would like to see her receive no bond.”

Assistant State Attorney Greg Allen asked County Judge Charles J. Tinlin not to grant bond because of the “deliberate nature of the act, a child is in critical condition.”

She presents a “serious, serious danger to the community,” he added.

Tinlin agreed, telling Allen of his decision by closed-circuit television linking his courtroom with the jail courtroom across the street at the Justice Facility.

Allen was the first of several prisoners called during Monday’s first appearances. She stood with her arms crossed, answering Tinlin’s opening questions matter-of-factly during the 15-minute procedure.

Her left hand flew to her mouth as Tinlin said there would be no bond. She then partially covered her head when he said one of the attempted murder charges would be changed to first-degree murder if Isiah Grayer dies.

Rick Allen, watching his wife on television from the jury box in Tinlin’s courtroom, tried to hold back his tears.

“She’s never acted like this,” Allen told the judge. “I just ” he added softly. “I don’t know.”

Kathy Allen told Tinlin that she had mental problems and named some of her medications.

Rick Allen said later that his wife “has been paranoid-schizophrenic ever since I’ve known her. And we’ve been married 22 years.”

He read the labels for five medications he said she has been prescribed for the past eight years by the St. Johns County Health Department.  “They’ve been trying to deal with her chemical imbalance,” he said. One prescription is for Tegretol, used by some doctors to treat emotional disorders such depression, according to Internet Mental Health.

The others are Cyclopenzaprine, a muscle relaxant; fluoxetine (or Prozac), Triamterene, which is used to treat high blood pressure; and Valium, a tranquilizer.

There is no way to tell what effect those drugs would have separately or collectively on a patient without knowing more about the patient’s condition, said a spokeswoman with the Drug Information Service in Jacksonville.

“It’s definitely the medications,” Rick Allen said. “This is not her. Kathy wouldn’t hurt nobody.”

Tinlin said that Allen’s $24,000 annual salary working for the St. Johns County Beautification Department qualified him for help by the Public Defender’s office.

Whichever lawyer the Allens choose will be able to ask that a bond be set when the case goes to Judge Michael Traynor in circuit court, Tinlin said.

“At this point, I’m concerned about the welfare of the young man,” he added.