South Carolina juries are fickle things. During my days with The ItemI once watched a jury of 12 men and women in Bishopville convict a man of murder with no physical evidence, no weapon and the only thing linking the man to the shoot was the testimony of one man, who as the defense pointed out “If (the convict) didn’t do it, he did.”
A jury from that same town deadlocked on the case of Adrian Bradham, a man who according to the Bishopville Police Department shot and killed storeowner Jitrindra Patel three times in the head.
Now a jury from Charleston found Christopher Pittman guilty of first-degree murder for shotgunnng his grandparents to death, lighting the house on fire and stealing their car when he was 12 and likely acting under the influence of Zoloft.
He will now have to serve two 30-year sentences, the lightest the judge could give. If he behaves and works hard he can probably get out in 26 years or so with a college degree and some vocational training, sometime after his 40th birthday.
Zoloft, an anti-depressive, is considered a “Black Label” drug, which as I understand it is one step away from being illegal because of its known tendency to cause suicidal behavior in children.
Lets forget that children’s medication has traditionally been under tested, and we don’t know how an 80-pound 12-year-old is going to react to a massively mind altering drug. Lets forget the fact that we are quick to overmedicate children. This boy never had a chance.
I’m not sure where he’s going to go. He’s typically too young to go to Turbeville Correctional Institute, where most of the state’s youthful, ages 17 to 25, are held and he’s been sentenced as an adult so I don’t think he can be held in the juvenile system any longer.