The drug, desipramine [an older tricyclic antidepressant], can cause sudden hostility, panic attacks and aggressiveness when taken in combination with cymbalta, which Koldeway was also using, said Delaney.
“When you use these drugs together, you’ve just got to be careful,” said Delaney. “Patients should be monitored for reactions on a day-to- day basis.”http://www.jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2009-09-01/story/death_threats_on_brunswick_judge_blamed_on_faulty_drug_mix
Death threats on Brunswick judge blamed on faulty drug mix
The man accused of threatening a judge had a medication interaction, pharmacologist said.
- By Carole Hawkins
- Story updated at 8:24 AM on Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009
BRUNSWICK, Ga. A Brunswick man accused of making death threats against a judge was suffering from a toxic prescription drug interaction, a pharmacologist testified Tuesday.
Tallahassee pharmacologist Marland Delaney Jr. said Matthew Koldewey was being treated with a “laundry list” of drugs when he threatened to kill Chief Judge Amanda Williams and halfway house director Chad Waters.
In January 2008, Koldewey threatened to take Williams out with a rifle and also twist her neck with his hands, according to language in the indictment filed against him. Williams had ordered Koldewey into a substance abuse program in lieu of jail.
Koldewey made the threats during a counseling session with Dale Tushman, a counselor at Gateway Behavioral Health Services who was treating him.
He also said he wanted to slit Waters’ throat and burn down Alpha House, where Koldewey was living while in treatment.
Assistant District Attorney David Peterson said the specific nature of the threats suggested Koldewey was serious.
Waters, who runs Alpha House, testified Tuesday that he took safety precautions in response to Koldewey’s threat. His boss placed a restraining order against Koldewey, and Waters spoke to his family and other men at Alpha House about the threat.
Waters also said the threat came unexpectedly.
“I was shocked,” he said when asked his reaction. “[Koldewey] had never said an unkind word to me before.”
Defense attorney Robert Crowe said Koldewey’s threats were angry thoughts said in confidence to a counselor to whom he had gone for treatment.
The defense’s first witness, Delaney, said Koldewey’s destructive state of mind was chemically induced.
He testified that just days before making the threats, Koldeway was prescribed a sleep medication that interfered with other medications he had been taking.
The drug, desipramine, can cause sudden hostility, panic attacks and aggressiveness when taken in combination with cymbalta, which Koldeway was also using, said Delaney.
“When you use these drugs together, you’ve just got to be careful,” said Delaney. “Patients should be monitored for reactions on a day-to- day basis.”
Delaney criticized the drug regimen Koldewey undertook from the time he had been jailed as “very high higher than most full-blown psychotics are given.”
He said the symptoms were a “warning bell” that drug levels in Koldewey’s body had reached toxic levels.
After the incident, Koldewey was sent to Georgia Regional Medical Hospital, where a doctor took him off desipramine.
“Three days later, he was better,” Delaney said. “They turned off the faucet.”
Koldewey is charged with two types of terroristic threats. One for threats against Chad Waters and Williams as individuals, which carries a sentence of one to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The second, for making threats in retaliation against a judge, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years and up to $50,000 in fines.
The trial is expected to Thursday.