Convicting Drew – Part 2
Today’s post is part two of the judge’s rationale for conviction. The judge continues to present his reasoning for his decision.
Judge: “I also observed in Mr. Harrison what I would generally call dissembling or an effort to shade the truth. There are certainly some specific examples in the past pertinent to this case. For example, he said he mislead, not his word but mine, (her name) concerning his drug use, of whether he really had an addiction or whether he was prescribed medicine he wanted to get off. He admitted that he exaggerated, misled her in an effort to get into her life by describing inaccurately his prescription drug use.”
Drew was not coached before trial. When his defense attorney told him that all he wanted him to do was get on the stand and tell the truth Drew was relieved. I remember him telling his attorney that he isn’t good at lying or remembering lies.
Let’s address the prescription drug use issue. Prosecutor is asking questions. Drew is answering:
Q: You’ve heard the testimony about the substance problem that you described to her?
A: Sure. I’ve heard it mentioned.
Q: Is any of that true?
A: At this point it’s been so far distorted. The original story behind this is really so simple. There was a period in my life where I was convinced that I needed to stop taking the prescription medications that I was taking. The number one being of the benzodiazepine family because they have a tendency to be addictive and have a bad withdrawal syndrome. I wanted to get off of them at the time. Now, I’ve learned that they help manage my anxiety, and I function better with them. So, I’m kind of past that point in my life where I need to get off of all drugs, prescription drugs.
Q: Is that how you presented it though to (her name) is that you had a drug problem and you needed to get away from these people that you had been doing bad things with?
A: I don’t know if I told her about getting away from people, but I did make it seem a little worse than it was and I did so because (her name) with anyone who knows her is notoriously anti-drug whether it’s prescription or otherwise. I thought that could be a way for us to get closer together would be by me giving up the drug that I was considering, the Clonazepam, the drug I was prescribed, and that she would help me with that. In my head I was thinking it would be kind of a bonding thing. It just didn’t work out. I was just kind of grabbing for straws, I guess.
Drew told the truth. He was prescribed a drug for anxiety. He didn’t like its addictive quality. He knew the young woman was anti-drug. He wanted to be with the young woman. He viewed it as a win-win. And, he owned making it sound a little more concerning than it was. He was telling the truth without any attempt to deceive the court. His truth-telling was consistent in court and when the police interrogated him. He will tell you what’s going on even when it doesn’t present him in the best light.
Below the young woman testifies about the prescription drugs. The prosecutor is asking the questions. The young woman is answering:
Q: What was it you felt distressing to him at that time?
A: He mentioned wanting to kill himself and having a drug habit.
Q: And did you ever see anything that would lead you to believe that he had some sort of a substance abuse problem?
A: At one point he asked me to help him kick the habit. He brought two – – I don’t believe it was any more than two bottles of pills to my house, which I flushed down the toilet.
Drew has considered suicide often. We knew that and have taken him to a number of therapists, the emergency room and even called for an ambulance once to get him admitted into a hospital for help. He was not lying or misrepresenting feeling suicidal, or having a strong desire to stop taking the medication that she flushed down the toilet.
A couple days after she flushed the pills Drew’s doctor prescribed an emergency refill because he began to have withdrawal symptoms.
Ironically, Drew’s ownership of making something seem a little worse than it was ended up being used to discredit his honesty.
As I write about this I am once again hit hard by what breaks my heart the most, besides the obvious. My son told the truth to his therapist, to me, to my husband, to the police, to the detective, to the prosecutor and then to the judge. He did so openly and honestly without filtering out what might sound bad. And this is what honesty got him – a conviction of 50 years partly based on an instance of “dissembling” and “his effort to shade the truth.” In court he shaded nothing.
I don’t know if I’m more angry or sad right now. I vacillate back and forth between the two. One thing is for sure, the underlying feeling is fear.