September 20th, 2010
01:39 PM ET

Murder defense: Too much caffeine

Can too much caffeine make you insane - and mentally unstable enough to unknowingly kill someone?

That's a question a Newport, Kentucky, jury will have to answer when they eventually deliberate in the trial of a man whose lawyer is expected to claim that too much soda, caffeine-laced diet pills and the energy drink No Fear - combined with sleep deprivation - meant he had no idea what he was doing when he killed his wife.

Woody Will Smith's murder trial begins Monday, and according to the Kentucky Enquirer, Smith's lawyer will argue that the combination of all that caffeine was responsible for the death of his wife.

Amanda Hornsby-Smith was strangled with an extension cord in 2009 - and now Smith is facing life in prison if he is found guilty of murdering his wife in their home.

Defense attorneys are expected to focus on a psychological evaluation conducted by an expert that determined Smith couldn't be criminally responsible for the murder because he was suffering a temporary psychotic disorder based on the lack of sleep and use of amphetamine and caffeine products, the Enquirer reported.

"This dissociative belief and intense paranoid delusions are the direct result of the ingestion of large amounts of caffeine and diet pills,"a psychologist wrote in his report, according to the paper.

The prosecutor is expected to call her own witness, the paper said, who will refute the entire argument.

It's not the first time a caffeine-induced defense has been heard in a courtroom. Last year a Whitman County judge dropped charges against Daniel Noble, who blamed too much caffeine as the reason he lost control of his car and hit someone on the Washington State University-Pullman campus. The accident didn't kill the victim, but did cause nerve damage and several broken bones.

The judge made the ruling after hearing testimony from several medical experts - but Noble also had been diagnosed as bi-polar. However, as part of the ruling, the judge made it a condition that Noble not be allowed to consume caffeine.

soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. okay

    I think he's innocent..just look at that cute

    September 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. okay

    Gotta love tweekers

    September 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. victoria

    I find it very hard to believe that from taking to much caffeine and being too tired would cause u to freak out and kill ur wife or girlfriend which ever on it is, he knew what he was doing, it's not like u black out from drinking to much coffee, idk I think it's a stupid defense

    September 20, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. okay

    How Noble !

    September 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. okay

    Also states he was on amphetamines...speed will make you do the deed

    September 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |


    September 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. okay

    Blame Folgers,blame Juan Valdez,blame Monster or Red Bull..dont blame him..its not his cant be..Sarah Shroud did it..told you she shoulda stayed in Iran..

    September 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mind

    he's gonna hate friday nights in the pokey.

    September 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. okay

    DON'T DRINK No will make you do funny things with extension cords

    September 20, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. okay

    Friday night in the pokey is tyhe best night..double portions of beets

    September 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. thhhhhhhhhh

    Since I've taken them all and managed to not attack anyone I must say no it doesnt make you crazy. Just jitttttttteryyyy

    September 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maria

    Talk about grasping at straws. I could never defend people like this if I were a lawyer. How can a person, in good conscience, defend a murderer?

    September 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rae Georgie

    What is the world coming to when we cant talk responsibility for our actions and would rather place blame on a energy drink, NOT ALCOHOL, but a energy drink as the reason shy we could not control our actions. Next, people will down a 5lb bag of skittle and rob a bank and claim its not their fault or go out and have 15 cups or coffee and mow down a group of kids in a crosswalk and claim its not their fault either. Really? NO FEAR made you strangle your wife/girlfriend, no wait, it made you "not realize what you were doing to her"...this is your lame attempt at getting out of prison??

    September 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mike

    Reminds me of Dan White's "twinkie defense" which got him off a murder rap. People will believe anything and it's not the fault of a defense attorney who knows this is true.
    the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

    September 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kite005

    That defense argument is crap. The ingestion of amphetamines, the various sources of caffeine etc. was his own choice. They don't get off if they get drunk and kill someone.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
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