Inhibitor at center of Marin trial — (The Daily Iowan)

SSRI Ed note: Young man on Zoloft inexplicably murders his 2 best friends, blames drug. Experts lie to court about drug effects, defence rejected. He is jailed for life.


Original article no longer available

The Daily Iowan

Samantha Miller – The Daily Iowan

Issue date: 10/31/07 Section: Metro

An Australian man admits to strangling his wife. A Wisconsin resident brutally beats his friend on the head with brass knuckles. A woman from England confesses to stabbing a man.

What do these people have in common?

A reduced sentence for committing their crimes while on antidepressants – specifically, a class recognized as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

And the latest indictee banking on a jury to accept the unconventional defense currently occupies a cell in the Linn County jail.

Kyle Marin has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the April 23, 2006, slayings of 18-year-olds Molly Edmondson and Katrina Hill, though not because he denies his role in their deaths. The 21-year-old’s defense claims he is not guilty because he was taking Zoloft at the time of the slayings, a reuptake inhibitor.

Marin’s defense called pharmacologist Terry Martinez to testify on Monday regarding the inhibitors. Martinez claimed that not only do reuptake inhibitors, such Zoloft, cause individuals to act aggressively and out of character, but that Marin would not have killed the women if he had not been on the antidepressant.

Statements such as this may hold great weight when considering that reuptake inhibitors are used by millions of people in the world – Zoloft is prescribed to more than 28 million people, making it internationally the most popular antidepressant, according to Drug Topics.

Psychiatrist Christopher Okiishi, who works for numerous health organizations, including the UI Hospitals and Clinics, said reuptake inhibitors are effective for treating depression. The drug works by increasing the amount of serotonin available to bind to receptors – a neurotransmitter that greatly effects mood, he explained.

The psychiatrist acknowledged that adverse side effects do occasionally accompany such drugs. He said it is estimated that 2 percent of people who take Zoloft have suicidal thoughts.

“For major depressive disorders, people may get worse before they get better,” Okiishi said.

There are no conclusive findings to suggest there is an increase in suicidal acts from taking the medication, he noted, counter to what the Marin defense alleges.

Marin attempted suicide in April 2006 while on Zoloft. He was released from the hospital less than a week before reportedly killing Edmondson and Hill.

Okiishi said Zoloft, along with all reuptake inhibitors, carry a “black box” warning, which contains information about the potentially serious adverse effects of the drugs.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has also reported on the negative findings of the drugs. The FDA cited a possible increase in suicidal thinking or behavior, specifically in children and adolescents treated with any type of reuptake inhibitor.

Okiishi iterated that the drug doesn’t increase “active” aggression, causing violence, as in Marin’s case. He said “reactive” aggression may occur, though, usually entailing crabbiness or a short temper.

UI student Karl Taylor can attest to that. He said that while taking Zoloft for a week – he discontinued using the drug because of an allergy to reuptake inhibitors – he experienced mood swings.

“I would go from laid-back to aggressive at a moment’s notice,” the freshman said.

He recounted a time on Zoloft when he randomly ripped an envelope up into pieces without giving it any thought. Taylor said this was strange for him because he is normally a “pretty calm person.”

Okiishi said before prescribing an reuptake inhibitor, he always informs his patients about what could possibly go wrong.

“Of course [the side effects] are a concern,” he said. “It’s something I would bring up with anyone who I would be prescribing reuptake inhibitors.”

E-mail DI reporter Samantha Miller at:


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Convicted For Life: Trial concludes for 2006 murders of two Kirkwood students — (Kirkland Community College Communiqué)

By Ali Carlson

On November 15, 2007

Kyle Marin is consoled by his attorney David Cmelik after being read his verdict on Nov. 1. Marin was found guilty on two counts of first degree murder. KCRG Pool Video

“My name is Kyle Marin and I’m here to turn myself in for two murders.” This was the statement given to Deborah Collins-Gallo, a Cedar Rapids jail attendant, on April 23, 2006- the day Kyle Anthony Marin turned himself in.

On Oct. 22, a year and a half after confessing to Collins-Gallo, the trial proceeded in the State of Iowa vs. Kyle Anthony Marin. The 21-year old defendant stood trial for the beating and stabbing deaths of 18-year old cousins Molly Edmondson and Katrina Hill in Edmondson’s southwest Cedar Rapids apartment on April 23, 2006. Edmondson was a student at Kirkwood, majoring in Dental Assisting and Hill was majoring in Liberal Arts while completing high school.

Marin’s attorneys filed notice that they would use the defense of insanity and diminished responsibility. Marin had been hospitalized in early April of 2006 after a suicide attempt and was then released just days prior to the killings.

Hill’s father, Raymond Hill, testified in the murder of his daughter and niece and was one of eight prosecution witnesses in the opening day of the trial.

Raymond stated that when his daughter did not show up for a family dinner on the morning of April 23, he called his daughter but she did not answer. He then drove to Edmondson’s apartment near Kirkwood Community College. When he noticed that the door was unlocked, he entered the apartment to music playing; the lights were turned off. Raymond said he checked around the apartment and entered Edmondson’s bedroom. He saw his niece. “She was face down, naked and on the floor,” he said. He then proceeded to the bathroom in search of his daughter.

When the prosecution asked Raymond what he saw in the bathroom, he struggled to answer. According to a court document he said, “My daughter. She was face up and I could tell [it was my daughter].” Also in court documents, when Raymond called 911, the operator requested that he go back into the apartment to check if the girls’ bodies were cold.

After Raymond was off the witness stand, Public Defender Tom Diehl, who was representing Marin, said, “We’re very sorry for your loss.”

A friend of Hill and Edmondson, Chad Kriz, testified according to court documents that he had been good friends with the women since November of 2005. On the evening of April 22 they (Hill, Edmondson and Kriz) decided to go to a small party hosted by friends of Edmondson. Kriz said he drove Edmondson to pick up a friend in Ely. Kriz identified that “friend” as Marin. Kriz stated that there seemed to be nothing unusual about Marin that night.

Later that same evening, Kriz said he took Hill back to Edmondson’s apartment, stayed for a couple of minutes and left at about 11:45 p.m.

According to a testimony court records, Marin returned to Edmondson’s apartment with her after the party and left soon after. Marin said he returned a second time and the girls were in bed. Marin said that he went to the kitchen and got a knife. He also picked up a hammer and a screwdriver. Marin woke them up, forced them to remove their clothes and step into the shower.

Harold Denton, Linn County attorney, then stated, “And then he attacked them.”

Diehl stated Marin was on prescription drugs, including Zoloft, that could cause suicidal and violent side effects. Marin had increased the dosages since he was not getting the desired effects. Diehl said, “With the increased dosage, it can make it difficult to resist power and aggressive impulses.”

Diehl also stated, “He had no idea why when Marin returned to that apartment and, in his own words, ‘he killed two of his best friends.'”

Diehl said that the murders were not planned, that Marin had just acted at the moment. In the videotaped interview with a Cedar Rapids police detective, Marin said, “I had this opportunity and I used it.”

After suffering numerous wounds, both Hill and Edmondson died in the bathroom early in the morning on April 23. Marin attempted to carry Edmondson to her bedroom but said she had been too slippery and that he had injured his hand in some way. He then changed clothes and said he slept in the spare bedroom where Hill stayed when visiting Edmondson.

It was described on videotape that Marin had been suicidal immediately before and after he beat and stabbed to death Edmondson and Hill. After he woke up in the afternoon of April 23, Marin said he drove to a parking ramp in downtown Cedar Rapids and sat for hours, planning to make a jump. Instead, he went to the Linn County Jail and turned himself in. Marin said it was the thought of never seeing his mother again that made him leave the parking ramp and drive to the jail.

A nationwide bulletin had gone out in search of Edmondson’s car, which was not found at her apartment. Minutes after the bulletin went out, Marin came to the Linn County Jail and entered through the public entrance and walked around the lobby of the jail for several minutes. Collins-Gallo, a civilian jail attendant, turned on the microphone and asked if she could help him. Marin replied, according to court documents, “My name is Kyle Marin and I’m here to turn myself in for two murders.” Surprised, Collins- Gallo asked him to repeat what he just said and he did as she asked. Collins- Gallo left the lobby and got the attention of John Davidson, a sergeant at the jail. Collins-Gallo later said she was aware that the Cedar Rapids police were investigating an incident that had occurred near Kirkwood Community College involving two women; however, she was not aware of any facts of the investigation at that time. Since Marin was in the public area of the jail and the only law enforcement was behind a glass wall and didn’t have direct access to Marin, he could have exited the jail before the police department came to talk to him.

After a conversation between Davidson and Marin, three Cedar Rapids police officers arrived and proceeded to a secure area of the jail. When he was in a secure room, Marin took keys out of his pocket and set them on the table. There were two sets of keys, one belonging to him and a set belonging to Edmondson.

Davidson observed that Marin had a red spot on the thigh of his jeans that appeared to be blood. He also found blood on Marin’s hands during observations. Marin was interviewed and signed that he understood his Miranda Rights. Later in the interrogation, Marin was asked if he would like to call anyone and he stated that he would like someone to call his mother. He didn’t want to talk to her but wanted someone to let her know that he was alright and at the jail.

Marin did not request to speak with a lawyer at any time during the interrogation.

Hours after Marin turned himself in, blood that was later matched to Hill was found on his hands. Pieces of evidence collected at the scene were found to have DNA from Marin, Edmondson and Hill.

During the trial Police Officer James Kelly described how he had photographed the inside of Edmondson’s apartment where the women were found. He also explained that there was a pile of bloody clothes, some of it belonging to a man. In the pile of clothes was a pair of jeans that had cuts in the legs corresponding to several of the wounds on Hill’s leg.

In the bathroom many items were found that were used in the murders. The items were seized and collected for evidence in the trial. A pathologist stated during a testimony that he counted at least 120 wounds on the body of Hill and 52 to Edmondson’s body. The wounds included stabs, punctures and lacerations. It was also determined that Hill may have tried to fight off her attacker.

Marin’s mother, Carrie Marin, appeared at the trial. She began her testimony in tears and showed much emotion. Carrie said she did not believe that her son would hurt anyone else. She was just concerned that he would hurt himself. She also said she believed that when the police called, Marin had hurt himself.

A note that was found in Marin’s apartment after the murders was shown to the jury on Oct. 29. Marin claimed that he and Edmondson had been in a relationship previously. The note was from Edmondson, who seemed to have not heard from Marin and was just “checking up.”

In earlier months and years, Marin had a number of incidents with the law – presumably a “red light” to danger.

Psychiatrist Dr. Tracy Gunter from the University of Iowa testified Marin wanted to “kill something” the morning he beat and stabbed two women to death. During Gunter’s testimony she was asked by Jason Burns, assistant Linn County attorney, if Marin knew what he was doing during the killings, Gunter replied softly, “Yes.”

Defense witnesses did not specifically answer the question whether Marin knew what he was doing when he killed the women. Robert Heilbronner, a Chicago-area neurophysiologist hired by the defense, testified during Marin’s trial. Heilbronner said, “Marin was not able to form the capacity to form a specific intent to act. He had ‘strange thoughts’ and reported seeing things that other people didn’t see.” Heilbronner also stated, “At least until Marin re-entered the apartment of Edmondson, he had no specific intent to kill.”

In closing arguments Denton said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Zoloft and alcohol did not take the lives of those two women.” Burns methodically detailed how the prosecution proved each and every element of first-degree murder and disproved Marin was insane.

The trial was predicted to last approximately two to three weeks. Security was extremely tight with extra metal detectors outside the courtroom. Prosecutors asked the jurors if they would be able to handle unpleasant details and still give Marin the fair trial that he was entitled to by law. They were also asked by Diel if any of the jurors had heard of anti-depressants, such as the product Zoloft, which may cause suicidal thoughts and violence in young adults.

On Nov. 1, 2007 the jury was sent into deliberation at approximately noon and approximately 3 hours later they arrived at a verdict. Marin was convicted of two counts of first degree murder. He will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Sentencing will occur Nov. 15. The families of the victims are expected to speak to Marin at the sentencing hearing about what the murders have done to them.

“I got a lot off my chest and just knowing that he’s going to be there for the rest of his life and knowing he can’t harm anyone else makes me feel better,” stated Norma Montoya, who was a close friend and roommate of Edmondson.

Individuals who knew Edmondson and Hill had nothing but positive things to say about them. The two women were described as “ambitious, good students, well liked and very high-quality young ladies,” at the candlelight vigil on April 23, 2007, outside Edmondson’s former apartment.

When asked about the thoughts of the verdict, Edmondson’s father, Allen Edmondson said, “There was never a doubt in my mind from day one how this would turn out. It still doesn’t bring back the girls.