Only on 5: Accused killer's attorney blames medication for murder - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Only on 5: Accused killer's attorney blames medication for murder

"He didn't mean to hurt anybody," said attorney Jerry Coleman.

He's sharing new details of his defense only with Action News 5.

"I mean, he snapped,"said Coleman.  "He had a mental snap," he added.

It's a snap he says Randy Gwathney had after starting a regimen of pain and anxiety medications.  Days later, three of his in-laws were dead.  It happened one year ago this week.

"I'm confident that my client, Mr. Gwathney, did not mean to hurt anybody," said Coleman.

Coleman's defense is based on the findings by two different doctors.  They say medications led Gwathney to commit murder.

"The delirium was induced by these medications and we think we can prove that with these reports we have now," said Coleman.

"Life will never be the same for me again," said Gwathney's estranged wife, Lisa Reeves, during an interview a few months after the shocking crime.  She witnessed the murders of her mother, grandmother, and grandfather.  They were shot as she escaped through a window of the family's Palestine, Arkansas home.

An attorney representing Lisa Reeves declined to comment on Gwathney's new defense.

"He's not a killer," said Coleman.  "He is a decent man," he added.  "He's as upset about this as anybody else and confused by it."

Coleman believes the new information will be enough to spare the life of his client.  

Randy Gwathney was caught near the Mexican border a day after the killings.  Prosecutors may point out that drugs apparently did not affect his decision to leave town.  His trial is set for May.


Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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