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September 9, 2005
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MAN FOUND GUILTY OF KILLING EX-WIFE WITH CAR
The Palm Beach Post; 9/1/2005; SUSAN SPENCER-WENDEL, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
WEST PALM BEACH -- A man who repeatedly ran over his ex-wife with his car was not insane at the time, but rather guilty of first-degree murder, a jury decided Wednesday.
Jurors spent a few hours deliberating before convicting Ortilio Pedroso in the killing of his former wife of 35 years, Miriam.
A judge immediately sentenced Pedroso, 63, to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Pedroso asked to kiss his daughters, who were present for the verdict. His request was denied. The young women, who have stood by their father, fled from the courtroom.
There was no dispute during the day-and-a-half trial that Pedroso ran over his ex-wife, backing over her body at least three times with his car. Jurors had to decide whether he knew right from wrong at the time.
The couple had been divorced for a few months when Pedroso returned from Cuba and appeared at his ex-wife's Palm Springs apartment after she told him she had met another man. Pedroso mowed her down with the car after discovering the man was with her in the apartment.
Assistant State Attorney Craig Williams told jurors that Pedroso clearly knew what he did was wrong because he fled, then tried to commit suicide.
Pedroso's defenders countered that he had a long history of mental illness - bipolar disorder - and attempts at suicide. At trial, one defense psychologist opined that Pedroso fit the definition of legally insane.
Pedroso's attorneys quickly exited the courtroom after the verdict.
"He had an ungovernable temper, not insanity," prosecutor Williams said after the verdict. "It was as bare of a defense as you could possibly come up with."
The couple's daughters had wanted their father put on probation, which wasn't ever going to happen, Williams said.
Copyright © Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc., 2005
Ex-Raider Barret Robbins Ordered Jailed
AP Online; 9/7/2005
A judge ordered former Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins jailed for at least two weeks Wednesday because he possessed marijuana while awaiting trial on attempted murder charges stemming from a brawl with police.
Defense attorney Edward O'Donnell said Robbins, who has a history of mental illness, would get medication while jailed. He said his client has been doing well in treatment.
Judge Kevin Emas scheduled a hearing for Sept. 21 to see if Robbins could be treated elsewhere for his bipolar disorder.
Robbins was shot and seriously wounded by Miami Beach officers during the January fight. He was transferred to a Texas hospital in April after posting a $51,000 bond. He was arrested in San Antonio on Aug. 13 after a bicycle officer smelled marijuana in his car. He spent time in a Houston psychiatric hospital before coming to Miami for Wednesday's hearing.
Robbins has pleaded innocent to the attempted murder charges. He fought with several Miami Beach officers after they answered a burglary call in a building that housed a pub, gym and jewelry store. They shot him twice in the chest.
Robbins disappeared before the Super Bowl in San Diego in early 2003, then showed up incoherent the night before the game and was deactivated. After a month in an alcohol rehabilitation center, Robbins regained his spot in the starting lineup the following year. The Raiders released him last summer after he tested positive for steroids.
Copyright 2005, AP News All Rights Reserved
Study: Daily Routine Helps Bipolar Disorder
AP Online; 9/6/2005; JENNIFER C. YATES, Associated Press Writer
The study, published in September's Archives of General Psychiatry, examined a therapy developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Using what researchers dubbed interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, patients were taught how to keep to normal sleeping, eating and other daily routines. They also were shown how to anticipate and cope with stress just as a diabetic who would be taught, for example, how to cook and eat differently.
"This is really a disorder characterized by massive disturbances in the body's clock and in all the things the body's clock controls," said Dr. Ellen Frank, lead author of the study. "Their clocks need to be very carefully protected and we need to do everything we can to shore up and protect that fragile clock."
Bipolar disorder, also commonly referred to as manic depression, is a brain disorder in which sufferers experience cycles of mania, depression or mixed states. Treatment for the disorder varies by patient, but often involves some type of medication combined with therapy.
Frank, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, said doctors for years have counseled bipolar sufferers about managing their lives but no one had ever systematically put that information together. She said social rhythm therapy does that, and also teaches patients to identify the triggers in their relationships with other people that can cause relapses.
In the study, 175 patients suffering from the most severe form of bipolar disorder were divided into several groups. All the patients were given medication for the disorder, but only some received interpersonal and social rhythm therapy.
The researchers found those who received the therapy were more likely to not have relapses of their illness during a two-year maintenance phase.
Dr. Gail Edelsohn, an associate professor of psychiatry at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, said sleep, especially, has a huge effect on those with mood disorders.
"This is a very important study because what's happened is that since we have a variety of medications which are extremely useful, I think the psychosocial interventions were prematurely cast aside," Edelsohn said.
Dr. Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said it's most important that bipolar sufferers have access to care, something that doesn't always happen because of the high costs of health care.
Copyright 2005, AP News All Rights Reserved
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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