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Subway Bomber Who Asserted Prozac® Defense Convicted


April 1996

A man who admitted to two bombings of the New York subway system but blamed the influence of Prozac® and other drugs was convicted on March 7 of 18 counts of attempted murder, assault, and possession of a weapon (Associated Press, "Man Is Convicted on 18 Counts in New York Subway Firebombings," Washington Post, March 8, 1996, p. A17).

As was reported in the March issue of NewsBriefs, Edward J. Leary was accused of attempted murder and assault in connection with two firebombings in the New York City subway system on December 15 and 21, 1994. The defense had argued that Leary did carry out the bombings, but was unable to distinguish right from wrong due to a toxic combination of Prozac® and other prescription drugs ("Man Asserts Prozac® Defense at Bombing Trial," NewsBriefs, March 1996).

Although no one was killed, 53 people were injured in the firebombings. Prosecutors argued that Leary carefully constructed his explosive devices and his plans to bomb the trains, something an impaired person could not do. They say he planted the bombs in attempts to extort money from the New York Transit Authority. The jury acquitted Leary of the charges related to extortion.

Leary is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, and could face more than 100 years in prison.