McClay's confusion about Burns' death was no act; he was under the influence of a cocktail of Ambien sleeping pills and other drugs and.
Andover, Mass., attorney Ki Yong O, then 36, claimed he was “sleep driving” after taking an Ambien when he slammed into 43-year-old Anthony Raucci while he was fixing his car beside Interstate 93. Raucci was killed.
McClay, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly bludgeoning Burns to death on the night of April 23 or the morning of April 24. Bail was set at $1 million.
Ambien, a sedative hypnotic taken for insomnia, can cause amnesia, sleep walking and driving, abnormal behavior, hallucinations and agitation, according to a report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
However, McClay had pleaded guilty in 2008 to a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his former boyfriend, according to Steinhauser and court records.
When Jefferson County Deputy Michael Burgess arrived at 11:07 a.m. he got a key from an apartment manager. Inside the entrance he found empty whiskey bottles and Burns’ body. McClay walked out of the bathroom wearing only a shirt and a towel.
Judge Kenneth Fishman acquitted O in December 2007 of voluntary motor vehicle homicide, ruling that O’s actions were not voluntary because he did not know the effects of Ambien, a North Andover news report says.
Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car near the U.S. Capitol early in the morning of May 4, 2006, after taking Ambien and another prescription drug.
The case is one of a growing number of so-called “Ambien-defense” cases around the country in which defendants claim that under the influence of the drug they were not responsible for murders, sexual assaults and fatal car crashes.
When Andrew McClay asked a sheriff’s deputy if his “friend” was OK, the question was so odd given the circumstances that the deputy had to ask “Who?”
Shortly before McClay allegedly bludgeoned Burns with a hammer, the two had been talking about living together. Burns and McClay, who is gay, had a platonic relationship.
Kirk Mitchell: or.
Only one Ambien is to be taken in a 24-hour period and it is not to be taken with alcohol, FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley said. Five Ambien pills, the number McClay says he took, is “well above the dosage.”
The two Red Lobster employees were best friends, spending most of their free time together.
“She was very special to him,” Steinhauser said.
He said Burns told him that a man had given her pills. McClay then stopped talking, the report says.
Prince Adams, 29, of Memphis, Tenn., claimed he stabbed his girlfriend, Ohrdra “Nikki” Flowers, 27 times with a pocketknife on April 17, 2006, after taking Ambien and dreaming she was cheating on him.
“Nicole Burns,” McClay replied.
“This whole situation is devastating to him,” McClay’s attorney said. “It’s a very sad case for everyone involved.”
McClay claims he doesn’t recall what happened to his “soul mate” inside his apartment at 11435 W. Bowles Place in Littleton.
McClay’s uncle John Seetch called police because the messages “seemed suicidal in nature.”
McClay started to l an investigator how he and Burns had returned home from working at Red Lobster the night before, ate dinner and then he noticed Burns was acting “funny.”
McClay also said he took 15 Aleve pills.
Burns’ body was lying on the floor of McClay’s apartment, where the deputy had just arrested him. She was in rigor mortis, her battered head lying next to a hammer in a pool of blood.
“The circumstances of what happened that night are puzzling, and I don’t know if those questions will ever be answered,” said McClay’s attorney, Karen Sue Steinhauser.
McClay’s confusion about Burns’ death was no act; he was under the influence of a cocktail of Ambien sleeping pills and other drugs and whiskey, his attorney says.
The first hint something was wrong came when McClay sent a series of s to his aunt saying, “I’m sorry, I love you, come get my fish.”
He was handcuffed and while being driven to Littleton Adventist Hospital, he asked if Burns was “OK.” In an exam room, an investigator saw drops of blood on McClay’s chest and a 2-inch scratch on his left shoulder that appeared to have been made by a fingernail, a Sheriff’s Office report says.
Adams’ attorney Brett Stein said his client was found guilty of first-degree murder, but he is appealing.
There was no evidence presented at a recent preliminary hearing of any anger ever expressed between them, Steinhauser said.
“Our position was that the Ambien affected his mind, clouding his ability to form the proper intent,” Stein said. “It’s a pretty common type of defense. It’s definiy valid. Usually it happens when someone is drinking.”