Prozac Defence Didn’t Prevent conviction of 10-year-old for Assault, Kidnapping — (Boca Raton News)

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Boca Raton News

The Associated Press

May 4, 1996

BARTOW – A fourth grader was convicted of assault and kidnapping Thursday for aiming a shotgun at a deputy who brought a truant officer to his home.   His lawyer claimed the boy was influenced by the antidepressant Prozac.

Police said 10-year-old Timmy Becton used his 3-yr-old niece as a human shield during the seven-minute standoff with a Polk county Sherriff’s deputy in February.

“I’d sooner shoot you than go to school.” The boy shouted, according to police.

Timmy was found guilty in Polk County Juvenile Court of aggravated assault, armed kidnapping and criminal mischief.  He could be held in a juvenile detention center until age 21; he is scheduled to be sentenced May 30.

The boy’s lawyer, Ellis Rubin, had claimed Timmy was in a drug-induced trance during the standoff. Rubun did not immediately return a telephone call for comment on the verdict.

Timmy said he learned something from the ordeal.  “Yeah, stay out of trouble.”

His mother, Cindy Becton, thinks her son’s brush with the law may have helped him turn around.

“I believe he’ll go to school now and be a good kid,” she said.   “He’s always been a good kid; he just didn’t like to go to school. “

Timmy was prescribed Prozac by a psychiatrist he had visited once, his mother said.   She had taken him to the psychiatrist because he was a habitual truant.

Cindy Becton said he responded well to the drug at first, buit had violent mood swings when his dosage was increased.

Timmy’s was the first known court case to involve a child using Prozac, which is the world’s largest-selling antidepressant, with sales of more than $1 billion per year.  The drug’s success has been clouded by claims it can cause mood swings and suicidal thoughts in some people.   Lawyers have presented the use of Prozac as an unsuccessful defense in 66 criminal court cases.