SSRI Ed note: Man, jealous and sad over breakup, takes Effexor and stays sad but also becomes irrational, erratic, violent and suicidal. Mental illness is blamed.

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San Luis Obispo County

Filed 8/19/14

Jonathon Charles Ramos appeals the judgment entered after a jury convicted him of first degree residential burglary (Pen. Code,1 § 459), attempted murder (§§ 187, subd. (a), 664), infliction of corporal injury on a former cohabitant (§ 273.5, subd. (a)), and assault with a deadly weapon (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)).’


Prosecution Appellant and Jennifer Doe began dating in early 2010. In early 2011,2 the relationship began to deteriorate. Appellant became jealous of Jennifer’s interactions with other men and often accused her of cheating. He was also sad and depressed. Jennifer ended the relationship in early May after appellant refused to seek treatment for his emotional issues. Later that same day, Jennifer offered to drive appellant to a county mental health facility. Appellant accepted the offer, but only stayed at the facility for one night. Upon his release he was given a prescription for venlafaxine, an antidepressant generally known by its trade name Effexor. Appellant continued to be depressed and upset about the breakup. In early June, he sent Jennifer a text message wishing her well and left a note on her door that read, “I miss you.” After he sent additional texts referring to her as a “slut” and “bitch,” she blocked his number. On June13, Jennifer went to bed around 11:00 p.m. At about 2:00 a.m., appellant left a voicemail for his friend Peter Ljepava saying he “couldn’t do it any more” and was going to leave. Appellant also left a voicemail for his friend Neal Breton stating that he loved him and was going to kill himself. Earlier that day, appellant told Breton he felt “out of it” because his medication was too strong. Appellant also said he had tried to kill himself the previous day, but felt better that day. Ljepava called appellant back shortly after receiving his message. Appellant sounded distraught and was crying. He told Ljepava he was going to “peace out” of this planet. In a subsequent call, appellant said he could not “handle it” anymore.
Appellant called Ljepava a third time several minutes later. Appellant was walking and breathing heavily and had changed “from the sad melancholy person who was just out of it to this completely different angry [and] more up-beat, talking faster, rambling and ranting kind of person.” Appellant told Ljepava he was “going to take [Jennifer] with him” and “rambl[ed] about [how] the universe was ever expanding and we were all just a little part of it.” As soon as appellant hung up the phone, Ljepava called 911 and directed the police to the boardinghouse where Jennifer lived. Ljepava did not recall telling the police appellant had also said “he was going to pay for it for a long time” or that “she better watch out.” At about 3:30 a.m., Jennifer awakened to find appellant on top of her. He said something about loving her and alluded to a knife while his hand was raised. Jennifer screamed, and appellant repeatedly stabbed her. Within a matter of seconds, appellant jumped off the bed, threw the knife on the floor, and left. Jennifer was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she received treatment for stab wounds to her head, arm, and leg. A police officer responding to Ljepava’s 911 call arrived at the scene and saw appellant running from Jennifer’s residence. Appellant ignored commands to stop and ran to a nearby hospital. He told hospital staff he had stabbed his girlfriend. The police went to the hospital and found appellant lying on a bed. He appeared happy and excited to see them and said, “I stabbed my girlfriend.” When asked what had happened, appellant repeated, “I stabbed my fucking girlfriend a bunch of times.” When asked why, appellant said, “I needed a release of energy. I have all this rage that I needed to get out. She was keeping me in a box and I had to release it.” He admitted trying to kill Jennifer and said he used his pocket knife to stab her. He also said he had left the knife at Jennifer’s residence along with his iPod and sweater. Appellant’s mood varied from cooperative to rude during the 15-minute conversation. He did not smell of alcohol or appear to be under the influence of drugs. He said he wanted to kill himself and asked the officer to shoot him.

Appellant also asked if the officer had ever killed a man by placing a weapon in his body and said, “It feels good.” Appellant was interviewed again a few hours later at the police station. A videotape of the interview was shown to the jury. Jurors were also given a transcript of the interview. Appellant did not appear manic during the interview. He was not in handcuffs. He said he had been suffering from depression and having a difficult time functioning on a daily basis. He suspected he might also be bipolar or schizophrenic. He had been taking Effexor since early May and had taken a dose the previous morning. He had also consumed alcohol the night before. Although he was not impaired by alcohol when he stabbed Jennifer, it was possible that it helped precipitate the attack. Appellant told the police that he left his iPod, cell phone, and sweater near the front door before he entered Jennifer’s residence. He also recalled telling Jennifer he loved her and then stabbing her numerous times, but denied he had tried to kill her. He said he “needed to purge” and had followed a “sign” at the center of his vision. He acknowledged he might have told the officer at the hospital that he tried to kill Jennifer. At the urging of the police, he wrote a two-page apology to Jennifer expressing guilt and regret for his actions. The police searched appellant’s home and found a prescription bottle of Effexor and several slightly-chewed 150 milligram capsules. The prescription had a warning label directing appellant to call his physician if his feelings of sadness or fear worsened or he had thoughts of suicide.


The judgment is affirmed.  NOT TO BE PUBLISHED.