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By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Valley Bureau, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thu. May 15 – 5:31 AM
Gregory was using mother’s medication, father tells court
ANNAPOLIS ROYAL The father of Jamie John Gregory says his son hadn’t been taking his antidepressant medication for a couple of weeks before the younger man killed a Lawrencetown bartender.
Testifying at his son’s second-degree murder trial Wednesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Donald Gregory produced a spreadsheet showing purchase dates and prescription size for antidepressants his wife and Jamie Gregory bought.
He told defence lawyer Joel Pink the chart showed how many pills would have been in the house in the days and weeks leading up to and following the killing of Peter Vanderpluijm at the Lawrencetown legion on Dec. 22, 2006.
The senior Mr. Gregory said he has no records from the pharmacy of his son picking up his medication after June 22. However, he said his records suggest that Jamie Gregory, now 29, probably was taking his mother’s pills after that date, based on the number of pills in each prescription and how long they were lasting.
Mr. Gregory said his wife always had extra pills beyond the prescription renewal date, but the number was dwindling. He said that indicated to him that his son was also using her medication.
He said his calculations showed that his son stopped using his wife’s pills on Dec. 11.
He said the drugs are expensive and that explained why his son used the other prescription.
He said when his son wasn’t on the medication, he would experience mood swings and was unpredictable, to the point that he once smashed an ornamental flower planter when his mother didn’t bring him home some cigarettes.
He said Jamie Gregory had also seen four psychiatrists in the early part of this decade.
Mr. Gregory testified that his son couldn’t handle rum and similar spirits.
“Hard liquor didn’t agree with him.”
He said his son had about four drinks, each containing three to four ounces of rum, in the late morning and afternoon of Dec. 22.
Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Dave Acker, Mr. Gregory admitted he hadn’t seen his son drinking and was only guessing his consumption based on how much rum had been left in the bottle.
Mr. Gregory told Mr. Acker he wasn’t dispensing the pills to his son or wife, wasn’t always present when they took the medication and was only assuming that they were taking it as prescribed, if at all.
He said he created the spreadsheet a few months after his son was arrested.
Mr. Acker also pointed out that in Mr. Gregory’s statement to police the day his son was arrested, he told investigators Jamie Gregory was taking his medication once a day.
The judge heard some psychiatric testimony for the defence that the accused had a history of psychological problems and substance abuse that could lead to loss of self-control.
Provocation and such loss of self-control are key points for a defence case of trying to have someone convicted of manslaughter instead of second-degree murder.
Testimony is expected to wrap up today, but final arguments won’t likely happen for several weeks.