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Doctor: ‘Drugs led Mustard to murder’
California-based forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz has testified in high-profile trials related to the Columbine High School shooting, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the Green River murders.
And on Wednesday, he testified in the Kitsap County Courthouse about Daniel Mustard’s sanity.
He calmly argued that a combination of legal and illegal drugs brought Mustard to the point of killing his neighbor, 87-year-old Ruby Andrews, in her Manchester home on April 5, 2009.
Mustard started smoking marijuana around ninth grade, Dietz said, and his parents noticed a sudden drop in his academic performance that year.
So Monica Mustard took her son to a pediatrician who tested him for learning disabilities.
His pediatrician diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Disorder and prescribed typical legal amphetamines.
“This happens all the time,” said Dietz. “Kids lie about their drug use and doctors prescribe the wrong medication.”
But Dietz doesn’t believe that Mustard ever had ADD.
“After the defendant was put in jail, he stopped having symptoms of the Attention Deficit Disorder,” he said. “He was able to read the Bible and able to remember things sufficiently.”
It’s also difficult to say whether Mustard ever had a mood disorder, either.
“He seemed depressed withdrawn and lacking energy,” said Dietz. “But just because you see symptoms that look like depression doesn’t mean he was necessarily depressed.
“The symptoms of drug abuse can mimic the symptoms of a mood disorder,” he explained. “You can’t diagnose a mood disorder until someone’s been clean and sober for six months.”
Since Mustard came to jail, he’s only taken blood pressure medication to help alleviate his nightmares, and his “episodes” have virtually stopped.
“He may have a mood disorder, but the longer he goes without an episode, the less likely that seems,” said Dietz.
Mustard stopped taking his ADD medication about a month before the murder, and he appeared to grow irritable, sad and despondent — symptoms typical of someone going through an amphetamine withdrawal, said Dietz.
So Mustard’s parent’s took him to a doctor, who prescribed anti-depression medication that may have triggered Mustard to go into a mania.
“I don’t think we really know whether a non-depressed person can be tripped into mania by taking antidepressants,” said Dietz, “because not enough research has been done on the topic to say one way or the other.”
Mustard may have started stabbing Andrews in a seemingly manic frenzy, according Kevin Hull, the senior deputy prosecuting attorney.
But when he saw all the blood, heard the screaming and knew that she could identify him, he may have decided to kill her instead, said Hull.
It takes a long time to stab someone 14 times, said Hull.
To demonstrate how long it would take, he counted loudly to 14.
After each number, he hit the table.
Mustard plugged his ears and looked away.