Judge finds Reardon not guilty on robbery charge

Updated: August 29, 2006, 2:59 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Former All-Star relief pitcher Jeff Reardon was found not guilty by reason of insanity Monday for robbing a jewelry store in December.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists, along with two defense psychiatrists, testified that Reardon was under the influence of a dozen prescription medications and that there was no reasonable explanation for the robbery.

Reardon's attorney said the 50-year-old Reardon, who pitched for seven major league teams from 1979-94 and won a World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987, was distraught over the 2004 overdose death of a son and had been taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers, two Florida newspapers reported.

The medications reacted and caused Reardon to exhibit emotionally unstable, hostile and manic behavior, his defense attorney, Mitch Beers, said.

"He did not know what he was doing," Beers said. "He was very, very depressed and very suicidal. The medications caused him to be delirious and to hallucinate."

Reardon was taking the medications because he was distraught over his 20-year-old son's death, his attorneys said. According to the Palm Beach Post, Reardon contemplated buying a gun, then a knife, to kill himself after his son died. He also considered going to Beeline Highway and stepping in front of a passing truck, the Post reported.

After Judge Stephen Rapp's ruling was announced on Monday, Reardon said he was relieved and that he had been worried about going to jail.

"I don't think I've ever had a speeding ticket before, for crying out loud," Reardon said.

Reardon walked into Hamilton Jewelers in Palm Beach Gardens and handed an employee a note saying he had a gun and the store was being robbed. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

Reardon, who retired in 1994 and ranks sixth in career saves, made more than $11.5 million during his career, according to baseballreference.com. His attorneys said he was not having financial problems.

The four-time All-Star was 73-77 with 367 saves and a 3.16 ERA in 16 seasons with the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.

Reardon had a save in the Twins' 1987 World Series victory over St. Louis. But five years later, he gave up a decisive two-run homer to Toronto's Ed Sprague in the ninth inning, allowing the Blue Jays to tie Atlanta at one game apiece. Toronto eventually won the 1992 World Series in six games.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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