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~In The News~

Dr. Bennett's services and expertise are an asset to many crucial legal issues that become headlining news stories. He has participated in television and newspaper interviews for  cases.
Click on the image or the title to read articles related to cases Dr. Bennett has participated in. (when available)

Police reports: Man who killed Danish girl says he was prescribed several different drugs.

By Anne Emerson, Reporter ABC NEWS 4


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — July 19, 2018


New information from supplemental police reports about the man who is charged with felony DUI and reckless homicide in the death of an 11-year-old Danish girl show he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.


However, police reports reveal what kind of drugs Jeffrey Wakefield might have taken.


We took those reports to an expert to understand how it might affect his case.

Dr. Robert Bennett is a forensic toxicologist. Courts routinely consult with him to make a determination which drugs had an effect in a criminal case, and which ones don’t.


In this case, Jeffrey Wakefield provided a breath sample. According to a report, he blew a 0.00 blood alcohol content.


However, in the supplemental police report, the suspect told a nurse in front of police about a list of his prescription drugs, including Neurontin, Lexapro, Percocet and Gabapentin.


An officer wrote that he overheard Wakefield telling his father on a phone call, "There isn't anything in my blood right now, but it might be in my system."


That's what stood out to Dr. Bennett.


“The real number I want to look at is the Percocet number. How much Oxycodone was in his system at that time," he said.


Percocet is a prescription painkiller, also known as oxycodone.


Dr. Bennett says, “There is the therapeutic range where he was taking them as he was supposed to, or they were outside the therapeutic range he was taking them more and abusing them. So there is potential for abuse there with the Percocet.”


Wakefield's blood and urine samples are still being process by SLED.


However, Dr. Bennett says prescription drugs could make this case tricky for the prosecutors down the road.


“It appears that these medications were given under the care of a physician and responsibility lies with the healthcare professionals, so these are not street drugs or illegal drugs,” Dr. Bennett says.


In the police report, an officer overheard Wakefield say to his father in another phone call, "I got high and killed someone tonight."


Dr. Bennett says, "I think that it is very damaging without further info to put that in proper context as it is. That statement alone is very damaging by itself from a legal perspective."



TOP STORY  -Aug 11, 2017

Georgia man found innocent in Kyle Martin's death

Although a SLED forensic scientist testified that a Georgia man, who collided with a Conway motorcyclist in 2015, was definitely impaired, an Horry County jury found him innocent Friday afternoon of felony driving under the influence.


Osvaldo Manuel Velez-Colon, 29, was charged with causing the death of Jonathan Kyle Martin, who was 32-years-old when he and Velez-Colon collided at the intersection of U.S. 17 bypass and S.C. 544.


Velez-Colon’s attorney public defender Casey Brown argued that his client was not impaired when the accident happened early on the morning of October 11 and that Carmine Tucker, a SLED forensic scientist, was not considering how drugs impacted him individually when she firmly declared that he was impaired based on a blood sample taken from him shortly after the accident.


Tucker said Velez-Colon’s test showed that he had used methadone, marijuana and Xanax sometime before he drove on the morning of the car crash.


Prosecutor George DeBusk argued that Velez-Colon would have been too impaired to drive if he had ingested only the marijuana and Xanax, but adding the methadone to the formula made his condition even worse.


Tucker said Velez-Colon had smoked or eaten marijuana only one to three hours before the collision. Add Xanax, a depressant to that, and the drug trio definitely impaired Velez-Colon, the forensic scientist said.


However, testifying for the defense Robert Bennett, a pharmacist and toxicologist from Charleston, said there was no way that Tucker could declare Velez-Colon impaired without talking to him and giving him what he called Clinical Tests for Impairment.


He also said that everybody reacts differently to drugs and, therefore, Tucker needed more than numbers on a piece of paper to evaluate Velez-Colon.


He also questioned the impact that the marijuana might have had on Velez-Colon saying his evaluation showed that the young man was a regular user of marijuana, which would have given him more tolerance, which would have negated Tucker’s findings that he had smoked or ingested the drug within a few hours before the collision.

-Read the whole story at :  




Charleston City Paper - Working Life Series
Dr. Robert Bennett, forensic scientist
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