MANIC-DEPRESSIVE MAN CONVICTED: OF ASSAULT WHILE OFF MEDICATION — (The Capital Gazette)

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The Capital Gazette

Friday, August 18, 1995 12:00 am

By BRIAN WHEELER Staff Writer CapitalGazette.com

A manic-depressive Pasadena man who “went beserk” after he was removed from his medication was convicted yesterday for an assault that led a police officer to shoot him.

Constantine G. Padussis pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment for a Feb. 3 incident in which he choked his mother and placed a knife to his sister’s throat.

A Circuit Court judge yesterday ordered Mr. Padussis, of 3458 Brookhaven Road, held in jail until a doctor vouched in writing that it is safe to release him.

Once he is set free, he likely won’t be jailed again. A prosecutor and defense attorney said Mr. Padussis doesn’t deserve a jail term because at the time of the crime he was being weaned away from Prozac, a powerful antidepressant, and another drug.

Mr. Padussis’ sister, with whom he was living, and his mother testified that his psychiatrist planned to put him on different medications. But to do so, he had to spend a week without taking any medicine.

The lack of medicine apparently triggered the events of Feb. 3.

“He’s never given us a bit of trouble. I just feel this was a problem with his medication that made him go off a bit,” said Mary Padussis, his mother.

County police Officer Robert Cordery shot Mr. Padussis three times, once in the stomach and twice in the leg, after Mr. Padussis attacked the two women, Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph V. Reina said.

Mr. Reina said Mr. Padussis argued with his mother that night about his father’s recent death, then tried to choke her. As his sister ran downstairs to call police, he chased her, grabbed two knives and placed one to her throat, Mr. Reina said.

His mother called the police and, when they arrived, Mr. Padussis was still threatening his sister.

She broke away from her brother, who was then shot after he ignored the officers’ commands and tried to run upstairs, Mr. Reina said.

“That day, he went beserk,” the prosecutor said.

He was flown by helicopter to the Shock-Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore for treatment and appeared yesterday to have recovered.

In exchange for the guilty plea from Mr. Padussis, who is living off medical disability payments for his depression, Mr. Reina will recommend that he serve a suspended jail sentence.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner will sentence him Oct. 5 but refused to let him go yesterday until a doctor convinced the court that Mr. Padussis is no longer a danger to society.

“I’m worried for his mother and sister. I’m just concerned,” the judge said.