OTTAWA — A new trial for Michael Luebrecht, a Putnam County man who pleaded guilty to the murder of his son in 2005, got underway Tuesday with a new defense offered in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.
Danny Hill, Luebrecht’s attorney, said in an opening statement that his client does not deny that he killed his 13-month-old son, Joel, on May 23, 2005, the Lima News reported. However, Hill said that medications Luebrecht was taking at the time for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder — Luvox, Remeron and Zoloft — altered his mood and personality, in addition to giving him suicidal and homicidal tendencies.
Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers said Luebrecht’s personality was not caused by his medications. Lammers said he was a cold, calculating killer who planned the crime in advance.
Luebrecht was given a life sentence in 2006 after pleading guilty to picking up his son from the babysitter, taking him home and drowning him in the bathtub.
Luebrecht filed an appeal to change his plea to not guilty in November after the side effects of medications he was on at the time of the murder were discovered. After hearing expert testimony, Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Randall Basinger granted the appeal and Luebrecht’s request for a jury trial.
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