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Alzheimer’s Patient Gets Life For Shooting Man

January 10, 1996

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ A man with Alzheimer’s disease was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who tried to turn around in his driveway.

T.J. Southerlin, 69, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to murder but mentally ill. He shot Marshall Lee Grayson, 53, who was going to a birthday party on July 16 when a fallen tree blocked the road and he had to turn around.

Alzheimer’s, a degenerative disease of the brain, can cause aggression and is sometimes characterized by a tendency to ``fly off the handle,″ clinical psychologist David Price testified.

Southerlin had called police earlier in the day about people turning around in his driveway.

After shooting Grayson with a rifle, Southerlin told police, ```Well, sooner or later it was going to be somebody,‴ prosecutor Jimmy Brehm said.

``That man, he just had hatred in his heart that day,″ said Grayson’s niece, Betty Jean Grayson.

Southerlin will be kept in a state hospital for the mentally ill until doctors say he can move to a state prison. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

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