SSRI Stories note: Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these antidepressants, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
Jury to begin deliberations in Vance murder trial
Defense witness says he did not have ability to form intent
BY MARK BELL • MBELL@DNJ.COM • March 3, 2011
MURFREESBORO A jury deciding the Suzanne Vance murder case must decide whether they believe her husband had the ability to form the intent to kill her in February 2008 before deciding his guilt or innocence today
The issue hinges on whether jurors believe Michael Vance was truthful with a psychologist who interviewed him two years after his wife’s killing. The witness testified Michael Vance admitted hearing voices telling him to kill his wife.
A psychologist for the prosecution pointed out Michael Vance has been inconsistent in making the claim about hearing the voices he denied ever hearing voices when interviewed by that psychologist.
Both state prosecutors and defense attorneys finished calling witnesses in the case Wednesday. Deliberation among 12 of the 14 jurors selected to hear the case are set to begin this morning at the Rutherford County Judicial Building following closing arguments.
Michael Vance decided not to testify at his own trial Wednesday. More than 45 witnesses have been called to the stand over the course of the seven-day trial.
Dr. Lynne Zager, a psychologist called by the defense, testified Michael Vance suffered from “major depression with psychotic features” at the time of his wife’s killing.
Zager pointed out that Michael Vance’s “intent” on the day he shot his wife was to actually commit suicide he had no intent to kill anyone else.
She added that he had stopped taking the antidepressant drug, sertraline, approximately one week before the shooting, exacerbating his condition.
“It is my opinion he lacked the ability to form the intent for what he is accused of,” she said. “His thinking, judgment and ability to carry out permissible behavior was impaired due to his depression, intoxication and amnesia.”
An expert who would have testified Michael Vance was under the influence of opiates, an anti-anxiety drug and alcohol at the time of the killing, which also impaired his ability to form intent, was disallowed by the judge.
Prosecutors later introduced the testimony of two psychologists from the Middle Tennessee Health Institute, Dr. Sam Craedock and Dr. Rokeya Faroouu, who determined Michael Vance was competent to stand trial and that he could have formed the intent to kill his wife.
“We did not see that he would have been unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his act and the nature of his act,” Craedock testified.
He also added it was his evaluation that was used to determine Michael Vance could not enter an insanity plea in connection with the murder.
Jurors will hear closing arguments in the case this morning and begin deliberations will begin.
Mark Bell, 615-278-5153
Check dnj.com throughout the day for updates on the trial as they become available.