A chemist charged with making an illegal designer drug at a commer-cial Utah lab testified Tuesday he was suicidal and panicked when he confessed to officers because of alleged police intimidation and his own mental instability.
"I basically thought my whole life had ended at that point," said Barry T. Eagan, 30, Salt Lake City. "I just wanted to die.""One of the things that ran through my mind was if I ran, I'd get shot and it would be over," he testified during a hearing on a defense request to suppress his initial statement to state narcotics investigators.
The Princeton University graduate, who had worked for Datachem about one year before his arrest, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 31 on charges of possessing with intent to distribute MDEA, an amphetamine derivative also known as Eve, distributing 20 grams of the designer drug and carrying a gun in connection with drug-trafficking.
Eagen was arrested Oct. 5 outside a Salt Lake County restaurant after a police informant bought the drug.
Plain-clothes and uniformed officers grabbed the armed suspect and flung him to the ground, keeping him covered with drawn guns. Eagan testified he was "panicked" during the arrest.
Law enforcement officers then took him to their office and questioned him after informing him of his rights. But they kept warning him, he said, that he faced 20 years in prison for possessing a silencer-fitted gun and had better cooperate.
The weapons charge was later reduced when it was determined the so-called silencer did not function.
"At the time, I felt very physically threatened," Eagan said. "All I could think about was `If I don't cooperate he (the officer) is going to do something to me?' "
While defense attorneys attempted to show Eagan was intimidated and mentally unbalanced at the time of his statements to officers, prosecutors tried to show the suspect was coherent and never threatened.