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Teenagers Attorneys Could Use Accutane As Part Of Murder Defense

A week-long hearing is underway in Boulder in which prosecutors are seeking to have 15-year-old Aiden von Grabow trie...

Posted: Mar. 6, 2018 2:05 PM
Updated: Mar. 6, 2018 3:11 PM

A week-long hearing is underway in Boulder in which prosecutors are seeking to have 15-year-old Aiden von Grabow tried as an adult.

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He's charged in the murder of a Longmont woman last November.

Von Grabow's attorneys may attempt to use his acne medicine as part of his defense in the death of 20-year-old Makayla Grote.

Since she was a child, Grote wanted a career as a race car driver. She would hang out at the Colorado National Speedway in Dacono.

"Although being female, I have pushed through all the diversity both on and off the track," she said in a video posted on Youtube.

But that dream came to an end last November when she was found stabbed to death

in her Longmont apartment.

Von Grabow's defense attorneys have hinted they may point to use of the acne prescription drug Accutane as part of his defense. The defendant told police after his arrest that he had used Accutane around the time that his behavior became erratic last year.

Dr. Robert Valuck is a professor with the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

"Can Accutane cause someone to murder?" asked CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger.

"According to the evidence, there is no evidence it caused that." Valuck replied.

Claims that Accutane has affected behavior are not new. In 2002 in Tampa, Florida a 20-year-old flew a plane into the side of a building. He had a prescription of Accutane in his home.

While Accutane has been found effective in treating acne, it has been studied for possible links to suicide and depression. There has been no definitive determination.

"We can't tell if it is the depression, the medication or something else in the person's life and there's not just enough evidence to point to one of those and say that's it," Valuck said.

During testimony on Monday, a Longmont police detective told the court a red notebook was found in a drawer in von Grabow's bedroom during a search. Inside it had a "death list."

The name of the victim's sister appeared on it along with notations about how the murder should be committed, and that anyone else present should be killed.

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