Eddie Davison’s Life Sentence

By Cat Ferguson, December 11, 2015, BuzzFeed News

Eddie Davison was living with his mother in a big green house in Binghamton, New York, when a voice in his head told him to start the fire.

He was 51, and a new medication for his paranoid schizophrenia wasn’t working. After several months on the drugs, he had started talking about his mother, Patricia O’Leary, hanging out with Nazis. He stopped showering and started chain-smoking, going through so many packs that his brother, Frank, started buying him loose tobacco to save money. Eddie’s hearing became extremely sensitive: He’d stand on the porch and scream at neighbors for closing their car doors.

Eddie started throwing away his possessions, too. Frank would come home and find things in the garbage, like Eddie’s radio and beloved Christmas mementos.

Patricia asked Eddie’s psychiatrist to put him back on his old medication, which his family says had kept him stable for years. But the old drug had driven up Eddie’s blood sugar, and his doctor thought the risk of diabetes was too high. The new drug, though, came with other risks.

On a Wednesday evening in April 2010, Patricia went into town for her weekly trivia game. Eddie was on his bed watching TV — the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. The word “roast” stuck in his mind, and a voice encouraged him to set a fire.

Read the whole story