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Zoloft Insanity Defense Rejected By Jury

Posted on June 27, 2012

An Iraq war veteran and former Westminster police detective may face life in prison after a San Bernardino County jury rejected his claim that Zoloft made him kidnap and rape a waitress.

In 2010, Anthony Orban kidnapped a waitress, who worked in a restaurant at Ontario Mills, as she walked to her car. He forced her to drive to Fontana where they stopped at a self-storage lot. While they were parked, Orban brutally raped and tormented her with his service weapon. When Orban was distracted by an incoming call on his mobile phone, she jumped out of her car and ran to a nearby liquor store. The gun, which had his name on it, was left in the victim’s car.

English: frhde hdres

English: frhde hdres (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Orban claimed on the witness stand that he had no memory of the attack and blamed his psychotic break on Zoloft. Orban also testified that the popular antidepressant caused him to hallucinate. He even had suicidal thoughts and fantasies about killing his wife and dog.

Composed of four men and eight women, the jury deliberated for two days before reaching their verdict. Two weeks ago, the same jury found Orban guilty of kidnapping, rape and several counts of sexual assault. They dismissed his claim that Zoloft had rendered him mentally unconscious and not responsible for his actions.

Zoloft was central to the defense in both the criminal trial and the sanity phase of the trial. Orban’s defense attorney tried to persuade the jury that his client couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong because of Zoloft. The defense argued that Orban should be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment instead of prison.

Orban, who will be formally sentenced in August, could face a stiff prison sentence of more than 200 years because he used a firearm during the kidnapping.

Experts on both sides of the case believe that Orban suffered some form of blackout during the incident, but they disagree on what triggered it.

The defense claims that the blackout was triggered by Zoloft. The prosecution argues that the blackout was more attributable to alcohol.

The day of the attack, Orban and one of his loser friends went barhopping at Ontario Mills. The pair ordered two pitchers of beer and eight margaritas between them. Didn’t they know that mixing alcohol types is a recipe for disaster?

Under California law, a blackout caused by alcohol does not meet the criterion for legal insanity because it is considered voluntary intoxication.

Manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Zoloft has been prescribed for depression since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1991. Millions of people take Zoloft every day. It’s a relatively safe drug.

There is no way that Zoloft caused Orban to kidnap and rape his victim. Drugs like Zoloft, however, can cause serious birth defects. If you were taking Zoloft while you were pregnant and the child was born with a birth defect, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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