Man Kills his Roommate

Paragraph 14 reads:  "Ross pointed to discrepancies in the opinions of doctors who testified for the defense over what effect the drugs Grodio was taking for a knee injury and depression would have had on him.

Last three paragraphs read:  "Forth did not dispute the fact that Grodio shot Tarlow, but argued the defendant was not completely responsible for his actions because of the powerful mix of prescription medication he was taking."

"Forth pointed to testimony from a psychiatrist that it was not  'appropriate for him (Grodio) to have that cocktail of drugs,' and that the combination of medications could have caused blackouts, hallucinations or a psychotic break."

“'It is a defense for you to find Michael Grodio not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter,'  he told the panel. He conceded that Grodio could have formed the intent to kill, but  'it's equally possible because of the drugs he was taking he did not have the intent to kill'.”

http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200906240300/NEWS0802/906240315

Man found guilty of shooting roommate to death

JESSICA E. DAVIS • City News Service • June 24, 2009

A man who shot his roommate in the back after the victim ordered him to do the dishes and turn down the air conditioner in the mobile home they shared was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder.

It took the six-man, six-woman jury less than two hours to come back with the verdict against 57-year-old Michael Grodio, who faces 50 years to life in state prison when sentenced on Sept. 11.

Grodio shot 56-year-old David Brian Tarlow on Sept. 9, 2007, in the trailer they had shared for about three months at a mobile home park on Langlois Road outside Desert Hot Springs.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Ross said outside court that “justice was served.”

“The facts spoke for themselves,” Ross said. “This wasn't a who-done-it? This was a what-is-it? The jury told us what it was ­ first-degree murder.”

Deputy Public Defender Joe Forth said he plans to file a motion for a new trial, questioning the speed with which the jury returned its verdict.

“Because of all the expert testimony, we don't believe they actually deliberated,” Forth said.

In his closing argument earlier Tuesday, Ross told the jury that Grodio shot his roommate because the victim annoyed him.

He also pointed to testimony from doctors who said that even if Grodio was on prescription medication or was going through withdrawals, “he would be able to form an intent” to kill.

Ross said Grodio went into his room to find the gun, then loaded it and placed eight additional bullets in his pocket, showing that he had the intent to kill Tarlow.

“You have to be able to think to do that,” he said.

Grodio showed Tarlow his gun after the victim ordered the defendant to wash his dishes and turn down the air conditioner, the prosecutor said. Tarlow was walking out of the room, with his back to Grodio, when he was shot.

“When he was the most exposed, that's when the defendant shot the (victim),” the prosecutor said.

Ross pointed to discrepancies in the opinions of doctors who testified for the defense over what effect the drugs Grodio was taking for a knee injury and depression would have had on him.)

“The drugs might make the defendant agitated. Another doctor said it would make him calm. If off the medication, he would have been irritable,” the prosecutor said. But “whether he is agitated is irrelevant under the law,” Ross added.Advertisement

Forth did not dispute the fact that Grodio shot Tarlow, but argued the defendant was not completely responsible for his actions because of the powerful mix of prescription medication he was taking.

Forth pointed to testimony from a psychiatrist that it was not “appropriate for him (Grodio) to have that cocktail of drugs,” and that the combination of medications could have caused blackouts, hallucinations or a psychotic break.

“It is a defense for you to find Michael Grodio not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter,” he told the panel. He conceded that Grodio could have formed the intent to kill, but “it's equally possible because of the drugs he was taking he did not have the intent to kill.”

“If you can draw two or more reasonable conclusions ­ one to innocence, one to guilty ­ you must pick the one that points to innocence,” Forth told the panel.

The drugs might make the defendant agitated. Another doctor said it would make him calm. If off the medication, he would have been irritable,” the prosecutor said. But “whether he is agitated is irrelevant under the law,” Ross added.

Forth did not dispute the fact that Grodio shot Tarlow, but argued the defendant was not completely responsible for his actions because of the powerful mix of prescription medication he was taking.

Forth pointed to testimony from a psychiatrist that it was not “appropriate for him (Grodio) to have that cocktail of drugs,” and that the combination of medications could have caused blackouts, hallucinations or a psychotic break.

“It is a defense for you to find Michael Grodio not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter,” he told the panel. He conceded that Grodio could have formed the intent to kill, but “it's equally possible because of the drugs he was taking he did not have the intent to kill.”

“If you can draw two or more reasonable conclusions ­ one to innocence, one to guilty ­ you must pick the one that points to innocence,” Forth told the panel.