Mother-in-law says medications warped judgment of woman who killed son, herself — (Newark Advocate)

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Newark Advocate

5:51 AM, Aug. 2, 2011 |

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Jean Straight was returning some of her grandson’s library items when she learned her daughter-in-law apparently shot him before shooting herself.

The patrons gathered around her and prayed.

Jean’s son, Jeremy Straight, returned home at 1:15 p.m. Saturday to find his wife, Joyce Straight, 43, and their only son, Jeremy “J.R.” Straight, 8, fatally shot at 4245 Outville Road SW. The Licking County Sheriff’s Office is investigating their deaths as a murder-suicide, Sheriff Randy Thorp said.

Joyce Straight was taking numerous medications that her mother-in-law thinks affected her judgment that day. The intelligent, spiritual woman who worked as a registered nurse would not have killed her beloved son, Straight said.

“That was not our Joyce that everybody knew. It was those medications in her mind,” she said.

Joyce Straight had a rare bone disease initially diagnosed as cancer, then fibromyalgia. Doctors also gave her medications for depression and seizures, Jean Straight said.

“She was trying to find relief from her pain,” Straight said.

The family wasn’t struggling with finances or relationships. Jeremy Straight was diagnosed with cancer, but his wife helped him through it, she said.

“Everybody else came first,” Jean Straight said.

J.R., who attended Kirkersville Elementary School, was an involved Cub Scout and was set to start flag football next week.

“Those beautiful eyes” were the first thing you noticed about J.R., his grandmother said.

“They had everything to live for,” Jean Straight said.

The Licking County Coroner’s Office completed their autopsies Monday but is not releasing details until today.

Emergency personnel, from dispatchers to police and medics, are trained to deal with horrific situations, but it’s never easy. Help was offered to individuals involved, Thorp said. “It is a very traumatic event.”

Jean Straight said the main thing she wants people in Licking County to know is prescriptions can be deadly.

“We thought since she was a nurse, she knew about the medications,” Jean Straight said. “Those medications have taken our beautiful Joyce and J.R.”

Jessie Balmert can be reached at (740) 328-8548 or jbalmert@