Man declared unfit to appear due to energy drink abuse and mental illness
A Minnesota man has been found unfit to stand trial for killing his sister, mother and grandmother – the court citing his mental health issues made worse by years of consuming energy drinks.
David R. Ekers, 36, was found unfit to stand trial last week in the July 2020 attack that killed his sister, Eleanor Ekers, 34; his mother, Linda Ekers, 63; and her grandmother, Darlene Broste, 86, reported The Star Tribune.
“[Ekers] does not have the capacity to participate in his defense with a reasonable degree of understanding or to participate rationally in his defense, ”said Judge Lisa Janzen. “His psychotic thinking is currently causing impaired judgment, reasoning, and decision-making. “
Janzen pointed to a report by Dr Jennifer Harrison which described a “history of a psychotic disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, impaired thought processes, and disorganized speech and behavior.”
“[Harrison] also noted that the defendant has reported a history of increased caffeine consumption, which may exacerbate psychotic symptoms, ”Janzen wrote.
The judge noted that there is evidence going back years that Elkers’ consumption of energy drinks has negatively impacted his mental health.
She cited how during a hospitalization in 2018, her “psychotic symptoms seemed to worsen with the ingestion of large amounts of energy drinks,” the newspaper reported.
More recently this year, he told a doctor he sometimes hears voices “due to poor sleep and ingestion of energy drinks,” according to the ruling.
His defense lawyer, Melissa Fraser, supported the decision.
“I respect Judge Janzen very much and I rely on his views with great deference,” she told the newspaper.
Ekers is accused of assaulting his sister, mother and grandmother with a pipe wrench because he believed they wanted him to go to the hospital or take his medication.