Man Says Jasmine Tea Drove Him Crazy

Gilbert Walker broke into his neighbor's home and chased her with a large knife while yelling, "I am crazy, I am crazy!"

The neighbor, Loresa Davis, and her two young daughters were unharmed in the December incident, but they were absolutely terrified.

"I don't even know how I got out of there alive," Davis said.

Walker was arrested. But seven months later, he's a free man.

Unconventional Defense Is Successful

Criminal charges were dropped against Walker last week as a result of one of the more bizarre defenses used in recent memory.

His defense lawyer claimed Walker became temporarily insane after drinking jasmine tea.

The judge dismissed aggravated assault and burglary charges after receiving a report from a toxicologist confirming that jasmine, when taken in high doses and combined with other chemicals, could cause psychosis.

Walker's attorney, Mike Hunter, says he believes it was the tea that made his client temporarily insane.

"His bizarre behavior was brought on by some sort of outside agent, in this case, the tea," Hunter said. "Mr. Walker could not form the requisite mental capacity to tell right from wrong."

Walker, a rocket scientist with no prior criminal record, said he had been drinking jasmine tea to soothe an aching stomach. He said he drank 10 cups a day for at least a week before the attack.

Hunt said that although jasmine is an herb commonly taken to calm the stomach, it is also used as a love potion in satanic and cult rituals.

Food for Thought

Such an exotic form of defense rarely works, but there is one infamous example — the "Twinkie Defense."

In 1978, former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting deaths of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to hold public office in the United States.

White had been charged with first-degree murder, but the jury convicted him of the lesser count after his lawyer argued that consumption of junk food had worsened his depression and led to diminished mental capacity.

The success of the "Twinkie Defense," as it became known, outraged San Francisco residents and led to rioting.

As for the Walker case, Davis says she is upset that charges have been dismissed.

"Who's the victim here? I am — my whole family is — so I'm really appalled by this whole decision," she said.

ABCNEWS' Chris Cuomo and Michael Corn contributed to this report.

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