Defense to argue impairment in trial / New Trial Allows Involuntary Intoxication Defense — (WQAD)

SSRI Ed note: Illinois on Zoloft, antihistamines shoots wife and her lover, court, is almost denied involuntary intoxication defense.

Original article no longer available

The Pantagraph

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

By Dave Hinton, Pantagraph correspondent

PAXTON — The defense in David Hari’s murder trial in Ford County will not dispute that he fired the shots that wounded his estranged wife and killed her boyfriend.
Defense attorney Gerald Rodeen said during his opening statement Tuesday afternoon that “the case is not about the actual shooting.” It’s about “requisite criminal intent,” he said.
Hari, 39, of Roberts is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jeff Thomas, 39, of Paxton and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Hari’s estranged wife, Lisa Hari, 36, also of Paxton. The shootings occurred Feb. 10 at Lisa Hari’s home.
Rodeen said he would argue that Hari is innocent by reason of insanity and involuntary intoxication.
Rodeen said the jury would hear testimony from two psychiatrists and a medical doctor that David Hari exhibited symptoms of “major depression” before the shootings. Rodeen said an anti-depressant prescribed for Hari, when combined with an over-the-counter antihistamine, upset Hari’s mental state, which was a factor in the crimes.
In his opening statement, Ford County State’s Attorney Tony Lee said the jury will hear how neighbors found Thomas, wearing his Navy uniform and lying in the middle of Spruce Street. Thomas, a Seabee who just returned from a day of training in Decatur, had been shot four times.
Lisa Hari was found wounded in the bathroom of her home.
Lee said Thomas moved in with Lisa Hari after both had filed for divorce from their respective spouses, and only five people had keys to the house’s new locks. Lee said David Hari stole a key from Lisa Hari’s neighbor and had a duplicate made to gain entry to the home.
Lisa Hari was talking to her brother, Scott Sherfey, by phone about 6 p.m. when she heard a noise in the basement that sounded like someone loading a gun, Lee said.
She investigated the noise and discovered David Hari there with his .22-caliber rifle. He began firing as she ran up the stairs, Lee said.
Jurors viewed crime scene photos that showed bloody pools on the street, on stairs and smeared on walls.
Rodeen said David Hari left the rifle at the home because there was a “crazy” neighbor who lived nearby and that he went to retrieve it so he could go hunting with his sons.
But when Lisa Hari saw him in the basement and began cursing at him, David Hari began firing as if “in a fuzzy dream,” like he was watching something in a movie, Rodeen said.
Roberts Police Chief Randy Kinzinger testified he and other officers arrested Hari without incident at his mother’s home about three hours after the shooting.
Hari had been asked what he had done with the gun. He replied, “What gun?” Kinzinger said.
Later, while being transported to the Ford County jail, Hari asked, “What’s this all about?”
Kinzinger said Hari showed no signs of mental impairment or trouble walking.
Rodeen said David Hari, who “married his high school sweetheart,” was “a reliable, dependable father” until Lisa Hari began divorce proceedings a month before the shooting. David Hari was a yard man at Alexander Lumber Co. in Gibson City.

Original article no longer available


Jan 20, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. The Illinois Supreme Court today ordered a new murder trial for a Ford County man so that he can claim he was “involuntarily intoxicated” at the time he shot his estranged wife and her lover.
David Hari was convicted of the February 2002 murder of Jeff Thomas and attempted murder of Lisa Hari in Paxton. But the judge did not allow the jury to consider Hari’s claim that he was intoxicated with a mixture of antidepressants and sleeping medication and therefore not responsible.  The case is People vs. Hari.

The People of the State of Illinois, Appellee, vs David A. Hari, Appellant

Justice Fitzgerald delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion:


Defendant David A. Hari admitted to shooting his wife and her lover.   The principal issue at defendant’s trial was his culpability for those shootings.  Thus the evidence adduced concerned the opposing issues of whether defendant planned the crime or whether defendant was relieved of culpability due to purported involuntary intoxication from his prescription medication Zoloft in combination with other factors.   The circuit court of Ford County denied defendant’s proffered involuntary intoxication instruction, finding Illinois law disallowed such a defense in the absence of evidence that the defendant’s intoxication was the result of “trick, artifice or force”.    The jury thereafter found defendant guilty of the attempted first degree murder of his estranged wife, Lisa Hari, and the first degree murder of her lover, Jeff Thomas.   The court sentenced defendant to 48 years on the murder count and a consecutive 25-year term on the attempt count.  The appellate court affirmed.

We do not decide here if defendant is relieved of culpability due to the alleged side effects caused by the ingestion of Zoloft.   Rather, we interpret the involuntary intoxication statute (720 ILCS 5/6-3 (West 2002)) and the evidence adduced at trial to determine if defendant was entitled to an involuntary intoxication jury instruction.  Because we find that the jury should have been given an involuntary intoxication instruction, we reverse and remand for a new trial.