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Aug. 31, 2004, 1:01AM

Mom: My son isn't 'a homicidal maniac'

She says abuse, drug dosage may have driven boy to shoot his father

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Sexual abuse by his father and an increased dosage of Prozac may have helped drive a 10-year-old boy to shoot and kill the father last week, the boy's mother and attorney contend.


"My son is not a homicidal maniac," said Deborah Geisler of Katy. ''I knew my son was angry with his father, but I never thought my son would see this as a way to handle the hopeless situation he thought he was in."

But the attorney who represented Dr. Rick Lohstroh during a bitter divorce denied the abuse allegations.

Lohstroh, a 41-year-old emergency room doctor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, was shot in the back Friday when he went to pick up his two sons at their mother's home in Katy.

Police say the 10-year-old boy climbed into the back of his father's sport utility vehicle, fired a pistol several times through the back of the driver's seat and then ran back inside the home.

Juvenile Court Judge Beverly Malazzo on Monday rejected a request from Geisler that the boy be released into her custody.

The judge ordered that the boy, whose name is not being released because of his age, remain in the Harris County juvenile detention facility at least until a hearing on Sept. 13.

A psychiatrist prescribed Prozac for the boy in early August after he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, his mother said Sunday.

He started with a 10-milligram dose and gradually moved to higher doses, she said.

The week before the shooting, Geisler said, the boy started taking a once-a-week, time-release dosage of 90 milligrams. He took his second 90-milligram pill just hours before the shooting, she said.

The sexual abuse allegations could be central to the juvenile court case ahead, a lawyer for the 10-year-old said.

Attorney Chris Tritico said he also is looking into the possible impact of the medication.

"I don't know enough about the effects of Prozac on a 10-year-old to know what, if any, role it played," he said. "That will certainly be one of the things we'll be looking into."

Lohstroh's attorney, Kathleen Collins of Galveston, adamantly denied allegations of abuse.

"All this stuff being said about him is untrue," Collins said.

Lohstroh and his wife finalized a contentious divorce in May 2003 and had joint custody of the children.

Geisler, 45, is a nurse at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a hospital spokesperson said.

Child Protective Services has a history of involvement with the family, but that information is confidential since the state never took custody of the children and no criminal charges were filed, said CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin.

Harris County sheriff's detectives are still investigating how the 10-year-old got the gun.

Geisler said the semiautomatic pistol had been kept locked in its case, along with an ammunition clip, in a closet in her room, Geisler said.

She said she thought it was a .40-caliber weapon, but she was not sure.

"It was stored, unloaded and locked," Geisler said. "The clip was out of it."

The boys attend Friendswood schools. The 10-year-old is a fifth-grader at Windsong Intermediate School and his 7-year-old brother is in the second grade at Cline Elementary, a school district spokeswoman said.

Assistant District Attorney Helen Jackson said she urged the juvenile court judge to keep the older boy in a detention center because of the seriousness of the incident.

Under Texas law, children under 14 cannot be certified for trial as adults in criminal court.

Many juveniles are sentenced to incarceration with the Texas Youth Commission and released on their 18th birthdays. But even after reaching that point, Geisler's son could face up to 40 years in adult prison if he is convicted of murder and prosecutors seek to have him sentenced as an adult.

andrew.tilghman@chron.com, kevin.moran@chron.com, peggy.o'hare@chron.com

Reporter Peggy O'Hare contributed to this story.

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