By Lisa Harding
The sister of the man charged with the murder of his wife in a Lehi church parking lot is claiming that prescription medications are to blame.
David Ragsdale appeared in 4th District Court in Provo on Wednesday to plead for another continuance in the capital murder case of his estranged wife, Kristi Ragsdale, in January. His family says the answers behind Ragsdale’s actions lie in a dangerous combination of medication he was taking.
“I, myself, believe that my brother is innocent,” Tamara Ragsdale told reporters on Wednesday following her brother’s court appearance. “He was not conscious when this tragic act was committed – these medications were altering his mind.”
Ragsdale described the situation as tragic, but says his actions were caused by severe side effects of several prescription medications.
“David was on seven different medications carelessly prescribed by a nurse practitioner who was not monitoring the side effects,” she said. Ragsdale also told reporters that her brother initially sought help from a professional at the insistence of his late wife.
Two of the medications Ragsdale was taking at the time of the murder were antidepressants listed as having severe side effects of homicidal tendencies and psychosis. Ragsdale was also on multiple medications known to increase aggressive behavior, including Ritalin and two forms of testosterone.
Ragsdale is currently in the Utah County Jail.
“Words cannot describe how incredible sorry I am for the death of my wife Kristi,” Ragsdale said in a written statement from jail. “I would do anything to bring her back, even if it meant giving up my life.”
Ragsdale sister reported that her brother is still suffering from intense headaches and withdrawal, just a few of the severe side effects caused from the medications he was taking.
“David is living in his own hell as he comes off of these medications,” his sister told reporters outside of the courtroom. “He thought these drugs were safe,”
She said she sees her brother as a victim of over-prescription and claims that his case is a call to awareness of the dangerous effects of taking multiple medications.
“A lot of us nowadays try to fix our problems in life with a prescription,” she said. “They think there will be a magic pill that will fix something. How many more shootings do we need before we do something?”
David Ragsdale will be back in court on April 9 for a continued waiver hearing. The defense is currently awaiting results from a psychological test performed on Ragsdale.