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The Commercial Appeal

March 15, 2000

Author: The Associated Press

Rodney Stamper’s claim that he was insane when he shot Ivan Creswell to death on a Newton County bridge has been rejected by the state Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court on Tuesday upheld Stamper’s manslaughter conviction and 15-year sentence handed down in 1998. Stamper was convicted of shooting Ivan Creswell point blank in the face with a .22 caliber rifle after a confrontation at a bridge frequented by fishermen. Stamper’s defense was that he was insane at the time of the shooting because of a reaction brought on by drinking a beer after taking a prescription drug. He said he was taking the drug in an attempt to stop smoking. Prosecutors argued that Stamper’s alleged insanity was brought by his voluntary consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol. In this appeal, Stamper argued the jury was wrong to reject his insanity defense. Stamper did not deny his intoxication. Stamper, after taking the drug Wellbutrin with the beer, claimed he could remember nothing else that occurred until the next morning. Witnesses testified that Stamper admitted to having shot a person. Appeals Judge Roger H. McMillin Jr. said state law distinguishes between an insanity defense and the situation where a defendant’s reason is suspended because he has voluntarily impaired his mental functions through the use of alcohol or drugs. McMillin said the Mississippi Supreme Court decided in a 1978 case that “voluntary intoxication by a defendant should not be permitted as a defense if a defendant, when sober, is capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and the defendant voluntarily deprives himself of reason by intoxication, and commits an offense while in that condition.” MS Dateline:  JACKSON The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN Record Number:  0000075128