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The Augusta Chronicle (GA)
May 28, 1995
Author: Associated Press
The defense successfully argued that a South Carolina man was under a “substance abuse psychosis” when he shot and wounded a state trooper. Brunswick County Circuit Judge W. Park Lemmond Jr. on Friday convicted David A. Addington of second-degree attempted murder in the shooting of Trooper Michael Elliott.
The Spartanburg, S.C., man had been charged with attempted capital murder, but Judge Lemmond said the prosecution failed to prove the shooting was premeditated. Mr. Addington, 32, faces up to 10 years in prison for the shooting. He pleaded guilty to using a firearm in commission of a felony, which carries a three-year sentence. Sentencing is set for July.
Mr. Addington testified that he was high on pills and beer when he exchanged fire with state police during an Aug. 25 chase along Interstate 85. The defense argued that Mr. Addington, a longtime alcoholic, was suffering from substance abuse psychosis and never intended to kill the trooper. Mr. Addington and two of his brothers testified that when his wife and children left in April, right after the death of the grandfather who raised him, he fell apart.
Mr. Addington was taking Prozac and an anti-anxiety drug to control body shakes, panic and depression. He tried several alcohol treatment programs and at one point was involuntarily committed to a hospital, but he returned to drinking. After finishing a case of beer the morning and early afternoon of Aug. 25, he decided to leave Spartanburg.
He testified that he loaded his brother’s truck with a revolver, some clothes, his Bible and an Alcoholics Anonymous manual, a bottle of Prozac and another case of beer. “I got on the longest, straightest road that I knew,” he testified. Mr. Addington said he did not know where he was going or why he even headed north, and that he does not remember driving through North Carolina and into Virginia. Around 10 p.m., a motorist warned Virginia State Police that the driver of a red Ford truck appeared to be driving drunk. Troopers found him outside South Hill, and the chase’s speed reached 100 mph before ending 23 miles later in Dinwiddie County.
A state police videotape showed troopers trying pull Mr. Addington over in heavy traffic. Trooper Elliott testified that when he pulled alongside Mr. Addington’s speeding truck, Mr. Addington fired the .357-caliber revolver, wounding him in the leg. Other troopers opened fire, hitting Mr. Addington in the shoulder and forcing him to stop.
Copyright (c) 1995 The Augusta Chronicle
Record Number: 0107160136