People can drink so much alcohol that they black out and can’t remember what they did while drunk, say experts quoted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Not all blackouts are associated with crimes, nor linked to cases as egregious as a recent quadruple murder and arson under investigation in Kirkland, Wa. But alcohol-induced blackouts are more common than many may think, experts say. Conner Schierman, 24, was charged Monday with stabbing to death two women and two children and then setting their Kirkland home on fire to hide the evidence. Police say Schierman told them he drank heavily overnight Sunday, woke up in the home of one of the victims, a neighbor, and doesn’t remember killing anyone.
“You could be aware of your actions in the moment and then not remember, or could claim to not remember. We don’t know in this situation,” said Richard Ries of the Division of Addictions at the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center. Blackouts are reported by people who forgot where they parked their cars, don’t remember having sex, or wake up wondering where they are the morning after drinking heavily. Tim McCauley, a drug and alcohol counselor in Seattle, recalled a man who went on a drinking binge, bought airline tickets for himself and friends, woke up in a hotel room in another city, and couldn’t figure out how he got there. “He didn’t remember the plane flight or anything,” McCauley said. “I don’t know about (Schierman’s) situation, but in general, is it possible that he could get so drunk that he doesn’t remember what he did? The answer is yes,” McCauley said.