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Coroner: Hartman's wife on drugs, drunk

Phil and Brynn Hartman  
June 8, 1998
Web posted at: 11:50 p.m. EDT (0350 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Tests showed that Brynn Hartman mixed cocaine, alcohol and an anti-depressant drug the day she killed her husband, actor-comedian Phil Hartman, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

Mrs. Hartman committed suicide hours after shooting her husband to death on the morning of May 28.

Toxicology testing revealed an alcohol level of .12 percent, along with traces of cocaine and the prescription anti-depressant Zoloft in her blood, said County Coroner's Investigator Craig Harvey.

The alcohol level is well above the .08 percent level at which a driver is legally under the influence in California.

"Between the cocaine and alcohol, the two of them most definitely intensified the other's effects," Harvey said. "The Zoloft is kind of a wild card."

The drug Zoloft was "found within therapeutic levels in her blood," according to Harvey. However, he did not know whether Mrs. Hartman had a prescription for the drug, which is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.

Investigators for the coroner's office found a prescription for an antibiotic and no other prescription medication in the house when they picked up the bodies. Harvey said. He did not disclose the name of the antibiotic.

'Fairly recent ingestion' of cocaine

Harvey added, "According to our toxicologist, it would appear that the usage (cocaine) was approximately five hours or so prior to death. A fairly recent ingestion."

Mrs. Hartman shot her husband several times before 3 a.m. that day, before shooting herself once in the head at about 6:30 a.m., police said.

Phil Hartman, 49, had been taking an over-the-counter cold medicine, but no prescription or illegal drugs were found in his body.

Hartman was shot three times, twice in the head and once in the chest.

Brynn Hartman was found in bed next to her husband with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Harvey was unable to comment on whether the drugs had anything to do with her actions, but said no "psychological autopsy" would be conducted by the coroner's office unless the family requested it.

Autopsy reports detailing the actual toxicology results are expected to be released in 10 days.

Harvey said he did not feel his office was called in to investigate the scene in a timely matter, and suggested that up to five hours lapsed before being contacted by police on the scene.

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