In the end, the South Carolina jury blamed the boy, not the drug Zoloft, says the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier. Christopher Pittman’s double-murder trial focused more on brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, and pharmaceutical trials than shotgun shells and alibis. The jury found Pittman guilty; he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Fallout from yesterday’s verdict is expected to have an impact on both the medical and legal fields, where the role of psychiatric drugs is challenging long-held standards. Pittman’s defense will appeal his conviction. Mental health advocates say that the damage caused by the case is already done. The defense team’s contention that the antidepressant Zoloft sent Pittman into a manic rage that led him to kill his grandparents three years ago, when he was 12, has put psychiatrists and antidepressant users on edge, worried about side effects. It’s unclear whether Pittman’s family will sue Pfizer Inc., Zoloft’s maker, for damages related to the killings. Experts say his conviction doesn’t necessarily preclude a strong case in civil court.