Criminal Justice

Unisom delirium blamed for lawyer's actions in police standoff; judge tosses charges

A Charleston, West Virginia, lawyer is not criminally responsible for his actions in police standoff last August because of evidence that he was suffering from delirium caused by taking Unisom, a judge in Kanawha County has ruled.

Judge Carrie Webster dismissed charges of attempted murder and wanton endangerment against the lawyer, Mark Bramble, on Tuesday, citing the opinions of three forensic psychiatrists, report the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette. The prosecutor in the case did not object the dismissal.

Two experts said Bramble suffered from anticholinergic delirium that made him unable to recognize reality as a result of taking the nonprescription sleep-aid Unisom, Webster said in her opinion (PDF). One of the experts said the delirium was worse because of Bramble’s pre-existing multiple sclerosis, according to the judge’s order dismissing the charges with prejudice. A third expert also concluded that Bramble was not criminally responsible at the time of the offense.

Lawyer Mark Bramble apparently injured himself during the three-hour standoff in which he fired his gun multiple times, according to prior coverage. He had worked in the workers’ compensation division of the West Virginia Attorney General’s office, but submitted his resignation the week before the standoff.

Webster’s order said Bramble must surrender any guns in his possession, an order that stems from a state law banning those with mental defects from owning firearms.

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