Guilty Plea to Rape Charge Draws 21 Years in Prison — (Post and Courier)

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Post and Courier

Nov 16, 2001

Sixteen months ago, Brooke A. Jewell crept into a young woman’s unlocked apartment in Mount Pleasant, took one of her kitchen knives, waited for her to return from the swimming pool and raped her.   He left her bound with an electrical cord.

Jewell pleaded guilty Thursday, and Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham sentenced him to 21 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct and 15 years for burglary.  He will serve both sentences at once.  Thursday’s hearing included two hours of testimony from mental health experts who blamed Jewell’s actions on his reaction to the antidepressant drug Paxil.

A few months before the rape, Jewell, a college graduate who worked in sales and had no previous record of violence, saw his family doctor for stress and depression.    The doctor prescribed Celexa, an anti-depressant, his attorney Andy Savage said.

Jewell did not respond well to the first drug, and, three weeks before the rape, he saw another doctor who prescribed Paxil, Savage said.

According to Dr. Peter Breggin of Bathesda, author of Talking Back to Prozac, as well as a handbook about anti-depressants, Jewell was suffering from a mood-swing disorder.   Paxil can have an adverse effect on people with this disorder, making them more aggressive and prone to hyper-sexuality and suicidal thoughts, Breggin said.

Jewell’s parents, Joan Snyder and Jerry Jewell, blamed Paxil for their son’s actions.  Jerry Jewell said he had researched the family genealogy and discovered that his son was the last male in the family line.  “He wants children, and he will have them.  I want to see my grandchildren.   I am proud of my son but I am not proud of that damn drug”, he said.

Brooke Jewell told Cottingham he was deeply remorseful.   He said he fell into “an abyss of manic hostility and a chemical hell” from which two victims emerged, the rape victim and himself.

Cottingham said the anti-depressant was no excuse.

This was a horrible crime, he said.