Murder Defendant Claims 'Caffeine Insanity' Made Him Do It

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 21, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On occasion, people may revile criminal defense attorneys for the somewhat outlandish defenses occasionally used in the attempt to have their clients declared not guilty by a jury. However, if you were the person in the orange jumpsuit, you might be grateful for any defense that your attorney might come up with. Take for example the case of Woody Will Smith, on trial for murdering his wife, Amanda Horsnby-Smith. One defense his attorney may raise is that Smith should be found not guilty by reason of caffeine insanity.

We should not get carried away and think that this might be the "Coke" defense, a later-day version of the infamous, and now somewhat de-bunked, "twinkie defense" used by Dan White in his trial for the killings of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. No, according to USAToday, this defense is more about sleep-deprivation psychosis brought on by too much caffeine.

Smith's attorney claims that he ingested massive amounts of energy drinks and diet pills to stay awake because he feared his wife would run off in the night with their two children after being accused of having an affair. Smith stands accused of strangling his wife with an extension cord.

According to the psychologist supplied by the defense, Smith was "exquisitely vulnerable to development of the brief psychosis given his sleep deprivation and the cognitive effects brought about by Ephedra, caffeine, and other diet aids that he ingested in the two- to four-week period prior to the lethal assault of his wife."

The caffeine insanity defense may or may not fly. USAToday reports prosecutors stated in pre-trial hearings that Woody Will Smith did not test positive for caffeine in his system at the time of his arrest.

For the rest of us, maybe we should just take it easy on the Red Bull.

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