Defense says Roger Self, who drove into restaurant, killing family, had bipolar disorder and was taking ‘dangerous drug cocktail’

North Carolina

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – An evil act, not driven by an evil person, but an extremely dangerous illness. That’s how a forensic psychiatrist describes Roger Self, saying he had bipolar disorder and the illness and a dangerous combination of drugs caused the grandfather to plow through a restaurant, killing his family members.

Wednesday marked the first time the public has heard about mental illness from the defense.

A forensic psychiatrist who examined Roger Self extensively said there were “too many chefs,” meaning too many doctors Self was seeing. At least one of them didn’t even know he was seeing another doctor.

Self was being treated with anti-depressants and the forensic psychiatrist said just days before Self drove his car into a restaurant, killing his family members, Self threw away all of the anti-depressants and stopped taking them.

At the time of the murders, doctors say Self had not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that treating bipolar disorder with anti-depressants can be like “throwing fuel on a fire.”

“I mean, completely, almost like he was just watching something occur even though it was him doing this act, so there was this disconnect, almost a dissociative disconnect between the reality of what he did and the impact of what had occurred that almost serves as a protective role.”

The psychiatrist claims that Self was so depressed, anxious, obsessed with delusions, and had some psychotic beliefs leading up to the killings. But the prosecution introduced another side of Roger Self, claiming he may have wanted a new life and his family members were in the way.

The defense claims that is false.

The prosecution claims Self had guilt over visiting strip clubs and massage parlors. They suggested Self killed his family because he wanted a new life, something the defense said is just not true.

On cross-examination of the forensic psychiatrist, the prosecution talked about how in the months leading up to the killings, Self would hang out with his friend, Gaston County Commissioner Tracy Philbeck. They would take trips to the beach and visit strip clubs and massage parlors.

The prosecution said Roger had a girlfriend at the beach. They suggested that he wanted a new life and his family was in the way, something the defense said is just so far from the truth.

“It’s not my opinion that Mr. Self is in this category, but one of the categorizations is exactly what you said, which is individuals find themselves a new and exciting life, and a very sociopathic way to escape their prior life is by destroying their prior life, so exactly that,” Dr. George Corvin, Forensic Psychiatrist, said in court on Wednesday.

“Well, Mr. Self destroyed a lot of his prior life, didn’t he?” District Attorney Locke Bell said.

“Well, that’s true, that’s right. That aspect of it, that, yes,” Corvin said.

On Wednesday, the defense said Roger Self threw away all his anti-depressants and stopped taking them just days before the killings.

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