Murder Med For Depression 2010-03-29 Michigan Postpartum: Mother Smothers 9 Month Old Daughter: Became Worse on Med for Depression

http://web.archive.org/web/20130202030525/http://ssristories.com/show.php?item=4083

Summary:

Paragraphs 6 through 8 read:  "She was diagnosed with postpartum depression and placed on medication."

"Her family members are expected to testify in the trial that she grew increasingly ill, refusing to bathe or leave the house."

Her mother, Gina James, arrived home June 6, 2005, to find Cavanaugh holding her baby’s lifeless body.
        
SSRI Stories note:  The Physicians Desk Reference state that medications for depression can cause psychosis, hostility, mania and paranoia.


http://www.freep.com/article/201003291308/NEWS03/100329041




Posted: 1:08 p.m. March 29, 2010



Jury told mom accused in baby's killing either selfish or psychotic



Shontelle Cavanaugh is on trial in her daughter's smothering death

By L.L. BRASIER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Shontelle Cavanaugh was either horrifically mentally ill or horrifically self-absorbed the morning she smothered her 9-month-old daughter in their Pontiac home. Jurors will have to decide.

Attorneys made opening statements in Cavanaugh’s murder trial this morning in Oakland County Circuit Court. Prosecutor Brett Chudler painted Cavanaugh, 28, as a conniving predator, weary of being a single mother, who planned to murder Simone so she would be free of her parental responsibilities.

“She is the one who snuffed out that baby’s life,” Chudler told the five women and eight men on the jury, as he stood pointing at Cavanaugh, who was sitting with her attorney at the defense table. “She chose to do it because that’s what she wanted to do…nothing made her do it but her own free will.”

Her attorney, Richard Convertino, told jurors that the evidence would show a young woman so psychotic at the time that she was hearing voices. “There is a different side to this tragedy, and those details are going to compel you to find Shontelle Cavanaugh not guilty,” he said. “There is no blame for this tragedy. This was a very sick woman who spiraled out of control.”

Cavanaugh was a graduate of Oakland University, living at home with her mother and other family members when she gave birth to Simone in August 2004.

She was diagnosed with postpartum depression and placed on medication.

Her family members are expected to testify in the trial that she grew increasingly ill, refusing to bathe or leave the house.

Her mother, Gina James, arrived home June 6, 2005, to find Cavanaugh holding her baby’s lifeless body.

In testimony this morning, Pontiac firefighter and paramedic Roman Prosser described how he arrived at the house with other paramedics and found the baby not breathing on the living room floor, with James crying. Cavanaugh, he said, was upstairs in a bedroom, gliding in a rocking chair.

“I needed to get her to look at me,” he said. “I was trying to get a response from her. She kind of glanced at me, then looked away.”

Cavanaugh is charged with open murder, meaning jurors can find her guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter. Should they decide she was insane at the time, as her attorneys claim, they can find her not guilty by reason of insanity.

There are typically 14 jurors hearing a criminal case. This morning, Judge Rae Lee Chabot dismissed one juror after learning that he has an embezzlement case pending in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Contact L.L.BRASIER: 248-858-2262 or brasier@freepress.com.