"He was prescribed Abilify, an antipsychotic, and Wellbutrin, an antidepressant."
SSRI Stories note: The new atypical antipsychotics, unlike the older antipsychotics, are also half antidepressant. Abilify is a new atypical antipsychotic.
Son of couple fatally stabbed at Target grateful for support
Martin E. Comas Sentinel Staff Writer
September 19, 2009
MOUNT DORA – Five months after his parents were fatally stabbed outside a Target store while walking to their car, P.J. Marx said he has received hundreds of cards, letters and calls from strangers expressing their sympathy.
Marx, 43, of Sarasota, the couple's only child, said he is now ready to show his appreciation for the outpouring of compassion.
"It's really touched me that they were so impacted by this that they took the time to express it," he said. "There are still good people in the world. … I really want to thank them."
It was one Mount Dora's most shocking crimes. Philip and Sandra Heintzen, a quiet couple who lived in a small Leesburg retirement community, went to Target on April 4. When they left the store, police said, Jonathan Levy, now 25, jumped the couple from behind with two knives, stabbing them repeatedly apparently for no reason.
New details have emerged in the case, including that Levy, a lean, dark-haired man with hazel eyes, has struggled with mental illness since he suffered a head injury after a fall in his late teens, his attorney Michael Graves said. Three months before the Target attack, Levy was admitted to LifeStream Behavioral Center in Leesburg under the state's Baker Act, which allows authorities to involuntarily hospitalize someone considered a serious threat to himself or others.
Stabbed several times in the back and arms, Philip Heintzen, 80, died 11 days later in a Winter Garden nursing home. His wife, Sandra, 69, died in a Sarasota nursing home on July 22, her husband's birthday.
The couple were married 50 years ago and were inseparable, Marx said.
"They really enjoyed other's company; there's no other way to say it," he said.
'Hard to understand'
Police officers were stunned by the crime.
"To have something like this happen, in broad daylight at the Target that I shop at my family shops there and so do several officers it's hard to understand," Mount Dora police Lt. Robert Bell said. "It was apparently a random act of horrific violence."
Before the attacks, Levy was seen walking from a nearby Walmart to the Target store. Witnesses said he stood next to a red trash can near the front doors for nearly an hour. A Target employee in the parking lot said Levy "looked stressed and his eyes were watery," according to police reports. Levy also was seen glaring at the sky, other witnesses said.
Leaving Target, Philip Heintzen walked several feet ahead of his wife, primarily because she walked with a cane and her husband wanted to open the vehicle door for her, police said.
As Philip Heintzen opened the car door, Levy walked up behind the couple, made a comment to the elderly man and then started stabbing him in the back and chest, according to reports.
Philip Heintzen later told police that Levy said, "I'm going to kill you." Sandra Heintzen then struck Levy with her cane. Levy turned around, yelled an expletive and stabbed her as she fell to the ground, police said. He then continued stabbing Philip Heintzen on the hood of his car, according to reports. Several people came running over, and one man tried to stop Levy.
"Do you want some of this?" Levy said to the man. Levy then fled, running across U.S. Highway 441.
David Bengston jumped into his pickup and followed Levy to a lake near a Chili's restaurant, where he saw Levy squat down, splash his hands in the water and then wipe them on the grass, according to reports.
As Bengston called 911, he watched Levy run and walk, cutting through several residential yards, and then cross Old Mount Dora Road behind a Ford dealership. Levy then ran into an orange grove, where police arrested him. Inside Levy's backpack police found a hooded sweat shirt covered with blood, a knife sharpener and a spiral-bound notebook, reports said.
The next morning, investigators found two knives, each about 8 inches long, in the lake.
'Heart goes out'
At the time of the attack, Levy was living with his parents, David and Karen Levy, in Eustis, and was unemployed. The Levys told police their son left home about 4 p.m. the night of the attack and thought he was headed to Lake Square Mall to see a movie, according to reports.
David Levy told investigators his son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder a mental condition that causes mood swings, psychosis and distortions in sensory perceptions about six years ago after his head injury.
He was prescribed Abilify, an antipsychotic, and Wellbutrin, an antidepressant.
Levy was arrested in 2003 on domestic-battery and drug charges. He is now being held in the Lake County Jail without bail and charged with first-degree murder. Authorities await a grand jury's recommendation on a second murder charge.
Levy declined to be interviewed for this report. David and Karen Levy could not be reached for comment.
Graves, Levy's attorney, said that he may use insanity as a defense.
He added that Levy's parents are struggling with their son's arrest and the Heintzens' deaths.
"They tremendously feel for the couple, for the son, and their son," Graves said. "My heart and the Levy family's heart goes out to those folks."
Marx said he hopes people would remember his parents as quiet and generous.
"I really appreciate all the people that went out of their way," he said about the more than a dozen witnesses who helped police. "I want to be able to close this chapter, but it's going to take a long time."
Martin E. Comas can be reached at 352-742-5927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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