MOSCOW, Idaho -- A nationally prominent psychiatrist said Wednesday the medications found with Ernesto Bustamante when he died frequently cause hostility, aggression, emotional instability and mania in many patients.
"That cocktail of drugs is a prescription for violence and suicide," Dr. Peter Breggin said from his office in Ithaca, N.Y. "I see this kind of thing all the time from just one of the drugs. But in combination, they get worse."
A former University of Idaho psychology professor, Bustamante resigned Aug. 19, about two months after graduate student Katy Benoit filed a sexual harassment complaint against him. Three days later, he killed Benoit with 11 shots from a .45 semi-auto handgun while she stood on the porch of her off-campus home, then shot himself in a Moscow hotel room several hours later.
Moscow police found four powerful psychiatric prescriptions in Bustamante's name in the hotel room, including clonazepam and alprazolam (benzodiazepine-type drugs, or "benzos"), which are used to treat epileptic convulsions, sleep disorders and anxiety. They also found citalopram and lamotrigine, which are used to treat anxiety, depression, epilepsy and bipolar disorder.
Breggin -- who recently testified before Congress about antidepressants causing suicide, violent behavior and mania in military personnel -- said he couldn't comment directly on the Bustamante case because he didn't know the details. But he said he has studied dozens of instances where psychiatric drugs like those found in Bustamante's possession have contributed to violent behavior.
"I've seen a lot of cases where either normal individuals or disturbed and angry individuals have behaved with uncharacteristic violence," Breggin said.
He said it is unlikely a doctor would have prescribed all four medications simultaneously, but could have over a period of time.
Moscow police Lt. Dave Lehmitz declined to say whether investigators interviewed Bustamante's doctor, or whether they will issue a search warrant for his medical records. He did confirm the ongoing investigation will likely involve more search warrants.
Other information about Bustamante's mental health came to light Wednesday in search warrant returns filed in 2nd District Court.
According to a statement from Moscow police detective Rodney Wolverton, Bustamante once threatened to kill a woman other than Benoit and had sexual relations with at least one other UI student while he was a professor there.
In earlier court documents, close Bustamante friend Rowdy Hope told police Bustamante suffered from "multiple personality disorders," including the self-described "psychopathic killer" and "the beast."
Bustamante made the threat while in his "psychopathic killer" personality, Hope said, using the woman's nickname. Hope said he didn't know the woman's real name, Wolverton wrote.
Lehmitz said the threat was against a woman involved in a Nov. 2, 2010 incident where Bustamante was the victim of battery and malicious injury to property.
The woman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace, and Bustamante received a protection order against the woman on Nov. 30, 2010, according to police.
Wolverton also wrote Moscow police received information about at least one other female who engaged in a sexual relationship with Bustamante while she was a UI student.
"I was informed that a complaint was made to the UI by a friend of this female, and that friend did not leave her name or the name of the female Bustamante had been sexually involved with," Wolverton wrote, noting the complaint was made via a UI telephone "hotline."
The detective also referenced a document from the UI to Bustamante that apparently discussed an allegation from a female regarding sexual relations between her and Bustamante. The document was found among papers Bustamante had in the Moscow hotel room where he killed himself.
Lehmitz said that document referred to Benoit's June 10 complaint to the UI.
The UI is petitioning the courts to allow the release of Bustamante's personnel records, which should contain more information about his relationships with students and any complaints against him. On Wednesday, Judge John R. Stegner set a Sept. 9 scheduling conference in that action.
In his statement to police, Hope listed a total of six personalities Bustamante described to him. One was "Baby," which was quiet, cuddly and soft. Another was "Ernie," a worried, scared little kid. "E" was normal and caring, and "Ernesto" was an angry, suave "diviner."
Of the two previously reported personalities, "the beast" was angry and "going to tear you apart," and the "psychopathic killer" talks about killing someone, Hope told police.
The search warrant returns filed Tuesday with the court also list additional weapons found in Bustamante's rental car, including three more handguns, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Police had earlier disclosed that six firearms had been found in Bustamante's hotel room.
(c)2011 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)
Visit the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho) at www.lmtribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services