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Thread: Man claims caffeine insanity in wife's death

  1. #1
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    Man claims caffeine insanity in wife's death

    Whether this defence is believable or not, it's scary to think that all his "drugs" are easily purchased at grocery and other stores. Totally legal.


    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/1...ffeine_defense

    Man claims caffeine insanity in wife's death

    2 hours, 44 minutes ago

    By Brett Barrouquere, The Associated Press

    NEWPORT, Ky. - A Kentucky man accused of strangling his wife is poised to claim excessive caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills left him so mentally unstable he couldn't have knowingly killed her, his lawyer has notified a court.

    Woody Smith, 33, is scheduled for trial starting Monday on a murder charge in the May 2009 death of Amanda Hornsby-Smith, 28.

    Defence lawyer Shannon Sexton filed notice with the Newport court of plans to argue his client ingested so much caffeine in the days leading up to the killing that it rendered him temporarily insane unable even to form the intent of committing a crime.

    Sexton declined requests for comment on the defence strategy he indicated he would pursue in filings before the court. Opening statements were expected to begin around 1:30 p.m. ET.

    A legal strategy invoking caffeine intoxication is unusual but has succeeded at least once before, in a case involving a man cleared in 2009 of charges of running down and injuring two people with a car in Washington state.

    Dr. Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioural biology at Johns Hopkins University has noted in an unrelated study that there is a diagnosis for "caffeine intoxication," which includes nervousness, excitement, insomnia and possibly rambling speech.

    Prosecutors, meanwhile, said their own expert may testify there was no evidence Smith had consumed diet pills or energy drinks as he claimed before his wife died.

    Prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass said Smith tested negative for amphetamine-type substances shortly after the killing.

    Police say Smith used an extension cord to strangle his wife May 4, 2009, then used the same cord to bind her feet together. Smith then used another cord to tie his wife's hands.

    If convicted of murder, Smith could be sentenced to life in prison.

    Smith told Dr. Robert Noelker, a psychologist from Williamstown hired by the defendant, he remembers taking his children to school that morning.

    But Smith remembers little else about the ensuing hours.

    In the weeks preceding May 4, 2009, Woody Smith told Noelker, he hadn't been sleeping, in part out of fear his wife would take their two children and leave him.

    "The next several hours of Mr. Smith's life, were described to me as if he were in a daze," Noelker wrote in a report.

    After sleeping intermittently, Smith had nap with one child he picked up from school at midday at a school near their home in Dayton, Ky., across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. After picking up the second child later that day, Smith said he went to his mother and stepfather's house.

    He described feeling "out of control," weeping to the point of being unable to communicate. Smith eventually confided in his stepfather, Noelker wrote, "I think my wife is dead."

    Reports and case records say during that time, he was drinking five or six soft drinks and energy drinks a day, along with taking diet pills; it all added up to more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association showing standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders defines overdose as more than 300 mg. That's about three cups of coffee.

    Noelker said he determined Smith was open to "brief psychosis" brought on by sleep deprivation, which was caused by the heavy ingestion of diet pills and caffeine in the weeks leading up to his wife's death.

    "It is my opinion that this disorder was the direct result of psychosis due to severe insomnia," Noelker wrote in a report filed in Smith's case. Noelker is expected to be called as a defence witness.

    The defence strategy recalls the case of Daniel Noble, a budget analyst at the University of Idaho Foundation who awoke Dec. 7, 2009, after a restless night and multiple weeks of working long hours on the foundation's budget.

    Lawyer Mark Moorer of Moscow, Idaho, won a dismissal of charges against the 31-year-old analyst, who had been accused by authorities of running down and injuring two pedestrians with a car in Pullman, Wash. Each man survived with a broken leg.

    Moorer said Noble awoke in pyjamas and slippers in near-freezing weather, went to a Starbucks and downed two large coffees before driving eight miles to Pullman where the pedestrians were hit.

    Medical tests in the Noble case resulted in a diagnosis of a rare form of bipolar disorder triggered by heavy consumption of caffeine, Moorer said.

    That evidence went before a judge, who dismissed the charges after concluding Noble was unable to form the mental intent to commit a crime.

    "We referred to it as a temporary insanity defence," Moorer said. "If you sat down and talked with him now, you'd think he's as normal as you and I."
    "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

  2. #2
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    Isnt that just something.. I read this story this morning too.. What will Oxie Morons think of next.. I dont know who is the craziest The Lawyer or the Murderer..

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  3. #3
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    This defense has been used before, as the article says - and it's kind of a warning to me as to how powerful these energy drinks etc can be. Among other effects, they cause sleep deprivation.

    Due to sleep apnea, I was sleep-deprived most of my life...and that led to diagnoses of clinical depression (dysthymia) and ADHD Inattentive Form. With the sleep disorder recognized and treated, my doc and I are weaning me off one of the medications. Down to half the dose so far, and so far, so good.

    The story above doesn't strike me as far-fetched at all, sadly.
    "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

  4. #4
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    Well, if 3 cups of coffee is overdose, then I WAY overdose myself every single day. I drink a 12 cup pot every morning.... however mine is not thick and dark like some people drink it. Mine is a medium to light color.

    Those energy drinks CAN mess you up bad, so can sleep deprivation and then he was taking pills on top of all that? The part that got me was he was trying to stay awake because he was afraid she would leave him? Hummmm?

    I don't think he should walk away scott free, he IS an adult and he had to know what he was doing in taking all of that and going without sleep and the effects of those two things. Nobody twisted his arm and forced that down his throat.

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  5. #5
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    I agree, Laura - it's like a drug addict committing a crime. I think he has to get help AND punishment in equal measure. Why would any sane person try to stay awake in fear his children would be taken away??? Alarm bells there!

    Peace to that poor woman, and especially to her children. They have lost the dad they thought they had.
    "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

  6. #6
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    As usual, the headline is misleading - the actual article talks more about insomnia and mental problems caused by that than "caffeine insanity," but that wouldn't attract nearly as much attention.
    I've Been Frosted

  7. #7
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    They'll have lemonade causing mental instability next.

  8. #8
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    Only if it has too much sugar, Wom. Had yer coffee with lemonade chaser yet today?
    "Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don't need to escape from." -- Seth Godin

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catty1 View Post
    Only if it has too much sugar, Wom. Had yer coffee with lemonade chaser yet today?
    Hee hee.......I'm as mad as a cut snake anyway.....sugar makes no difference

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