Driver‘s deadly shooting spree ‘drug-induced‘ —(The Herald)

SSRI Ed note: Man, 51, dependent on combination of drugs (Effexor, Epilem, Stilnox), drinks, embarks on "shooting rampage", one dead, 2 injured.

Original article not available.

Updated article in Legal Brief Today click here.

The Herald


Nomahlubi Sonjica HERALD REPORTER

A MAN accused of killing one person and injuring two others in a shooting spree two years ago, told the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday that since receiving treatment he felt like a human being again.

“I can think clearly and I feel my life is worth living,” said Steven Romer, 51.

Romer, a former East London car salesman, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and two counts of attempted murder, and claimed not to recall the events of October 17, 2007, when he allegedly killed Gavin du Mont, 41, and wounded Karen Heuer, 27, and Ernest Janse, 56, while driving around the Bay.

Romer said he had become helpless after he divorced his wife, whom he said he had found with another man.

“I became depressed. I sold my firearm collection, all my riding stuff and I gave away my fishing equipment.

“I changed completely.”

He became dependent on anti-depressant medication.

Romer told the court he had never been warned not to take alcohol with drugs, as he had done on the day of the incident.

Romer said he could only remember pulling away from a friend, with whom he had a beer, before allegedly going on the shooting spree.

“To me it was black after that and I recall seeing a terrible- looking thing coming at me. Next, I remember handcuffs hurting me terribly.”

A pharmacology lecturer at Rhodes University, Prof Santy Daya, who was called to testify on the effects of the medication Romer had been taking, said the combination of the drugs was “a recipe for disaster”.

Among the anti-depressant drugs Romer was taking were Effexor, Epilem and Stilnox.

Daya said the side effects of Effexo included reduced appetite, nausea and hallucination. One can have suicidal thoughts and intrusive thoughts of wanting to harm another person or persons.”

He said Epilem was used to treat epilepsy and as a mood stabiliser.

It also caused drowsiness.

“Stilnox is a sedative and hypnotic drug. It induces sleep.”

Romer had taken Stilnox hours before he allegedly committed the offences.

He could not remember how many tablets he had taken.

The case resumes today.

Legal Brief Today

Suspended sentence following man’s shooting rampage

Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Mon 26 October 2009
Category: In Court
Issue No: 2427

Steven Romer (51), who went on a shooting rampage that left one person dead and two injured in 2007, has been given a suspended sentenced by the East London High Court (Port Elizabeth).

The Herald reports that Romer claimed he could not recall the shootings and pleaded not guilty to the murder of Gavin du Mont (41) and attempted murder of Karen Heuer (27) and Ernest Janse (56) in October 2007. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years. He was also given a correctional supervision sentence of three years, in which he would have to perform community service.