Defense witness says manic state caused by anti-depressant — (Newark Gazette)

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Newark Gazette

By ASHLEY PHILLIPS, Gazette Staff Writer

April 24, 2004

[Note: throughout the article, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen is referred to as “Mullen”.  This error has been corrected]

Second expert to counter first

Prosecutors intend to call their own expert witness today to counter a claim Bob Wiles was insane – because he was on an antidepressant – at the time he shot a woman in 2006.

Dr. Phillip Resnick will testify after defense expert Dr. Joseph Glenmullen told the jury he believed Wiles showed signs of being manic during the time of the shooting.

Wiles, 71, is charged with attempted murder and felonious assault in connection with the shooting of his great-granddaughter’s mother, Kim McNeal, on Memorial Day 2006.

Glenmullen told the jury Wiles was not in control of his state on the day of the shooting.  “His manic (state) was caused by the medicine he was currently on that was supposed to help him with depression,” Glenmullen said.

Wiles was prescribed the anti-depressant Zoloft to help him with his depression in January 2006.

According to Glenmullen, Zoloft caused Wiles to experience irritability, agitation and suicidal tendencies – something he never exhibited before taking the medicine.

In an extensive interview conducted with Wiles just two weeks before the trial started, Glenmullen said he ruled out many factors that could have caused him to react the way he did, such as stress, personality, being schizophrenic or bipolar, alcohol or illegal drugs and came to the conclusion Zoloft was the reason he reacted with such violence.

“Under normal circumstances, he would never have acted that way, but because of the effect the medicine was having on him, he did react the way he did,” Mullen said.

Some of the signs someone is having a manic episode, according to Glenmullen, include appearing overstimulated, agitated, restless and irritable.

“He became completely obsessed with the welfare of his great-granddaughter,” he said.

Glenmullen was asked if Wiles is still in a manic state.

“He was only in a manic state for a couple of hours the day of the incident. After he stopped taking the medicine, he returned to his usual self,” he said.

Under cross examination by Ross County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt, Glenmullen said Wiles and others close to him told him Wiles had no recollection of the incident.

“So you’re saying that just because the defendant told you that he doesn’t remember, you assume that to be true?” Schmidt asked Mullen during cross-examination.

Based on his 25 years of experience in psychiatry, along with his educational background and training,  Glenmullen came to the conclusion Wiles truly did not remember anything about the shooting.

Schmidt questioned the doctor about Wiles’ relationship with McNeal, including threats made against her prior to the shooting.

“I don’t think he was specifically out to get Kim McNeal. Obviously, no one else took these threats serious because no one called in law enforcement, and McNeal continued to come around the Wiles home,” Mullen said.

Longtime friends of Wiles testified the person who shot McNeal is not the person they have known for so many years.

“I’ve never seen him lose his temper. He is usually joking around and kind,” said Darlene Cash.

Larry Tucker has lived in Richmond Dale for 62 years and has known Wiles since they were in elementary school. He said he noticed during the spring of 2006 Wiles was falling apart.

“He acted like he was off something, like his mind was not right,” he said.

Larry Tucker testifies for the defense in the trial of Bob Wiles Wednesday in the Ross County Court of Common Pleas. The defense rested its case after witnesses testified Wiles’ demeanor changed dramatically after he began taking the anti-depressant medication Zoloft. An expert witness for the defense also took the stand, saying he believes the Zoloft caused Wiles to become manic. The prosecution will begin calling witnesses today.

The antidepressant defense has been raised by at least 100 people accused of violence or murder across the country. The Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of a prominent South Carolina case with that defense.

In that case, a teen who shot and killed his grandparents as they slept claimed he was led to kill by the antidepressant Zoloft. He was found guilty by a jury and given 30 years in prison.

(Phillips can be reached at 772-9376 or via e-mail at phillips@nncogannett.com)

 

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Columbus Dispatch

Retrial expected after jury hangs in Ross County case

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — A Ross County jury deadlocked last night in the case of a former township trustee charged with the attempted murder of the mother of his great-granddaughter.

Robert Wiles, 71, of Richmond Dale, will be retried after jurors deliberated for more than seven hours yesterday and returned after 10 p.m. unable to reach a verdict, said Prosecutor Michael Ater.

Wiles was charged with shooting Kimberly Neal, then 21, when she arrived to pick up her baby on Memorial Day 2006. A bullet grazed her head as she sat in a car and she was shot in the back and side as she attempted to run away.

Wiles then went inside his home and shot himself in the chin with a .12-gauge shotgun in an apparent suicide attempt. Wiles claimed he did not remember the shootings.

Wiles also is charged with felonious assault. He faces three to 18 years in prison if convicted of both charges.

Ater called the outcome disappointing, saying it can be difficult for “lay persons” to interpret differing expert opinions in a case in which Wiles used an insanity defense.

He contended at trial that was temporarily insane at the time of shooting due to an anti-depressant medication he was taking. A psychiatrist, family members and friends testified that the drug, Zoloft, changed his behavior amid worries about the welfare of his great-granddaughter.

Prosecutors summoned witnesses who claimed that Wiles previously had threatened Neal and a psychiatrist who testified that Wiles was not manic at the time of the shooting.

Wiles was a Jefferson Township trustee for 22 years until he resigned March 31.