After being released from Parkwood, Sherrod took doses of lithium—to eliminate the mood swings brought on by the manic-depressive disorder—and Thorazine, an antipsychotic tranquilizer. The drugs helped stabilize his behavior, but they also caused him to sleep day and night.
Sherrod finished the medication in December, and Eubanks did not renew the prescription. "Everybody who has an acute psychotic episode does not need to be on lithium the rest of his life," says Eubanks.
Sherrod was supposed to see Eubanks regularly, but he canceled several appointments, including one the week before he shot himself. "He was scared of going back in the hospital," Eubanks says. "Maybe I was associated in his mind with that." Eubanks's office is across the street from Parkwood Hospital.
For a time after he left the hospital, Sherrod returned to Millen to stay in the home on Chance Street where he had grown up with his mother and maternal grandmother, Jennie Mosley, 74.
Johnnie Mac dropped out of school in 1966, when she got pregnant with Anthony while in the 12th grade. Two years later she had another son, Richard. When Anthony was four, she moved back in with her parents after she and her husband had separated. "I started to move once," says Johnnie Mac. "My father told me I could go, but I could not take the children with me. He and my mother were real attached to them.
"There were 10 of us kids," she continues. "Five boys, then four girls and my baby brother. I was the oldest girl. My brother Robert, the second oldest, got killed in Vietnam when he was 26. All six of my brothers were in the service, and four of them were in Vietnam at the same time. We had our ups and downs, but we were always one big happy family."
Mosley had left school after the eighth grade, and her husband, Buster, dropped out after the third grade. So when Anthony was given an opportunity to attend Georgia Tech on a scholarship, there was little question that he would go. Sherrod was taking his final nine hours of classes this spring and was to graduate in June.
On Wednesday, April 11, two days before he died, Sherrod telephoned his mother and told her he had bad news. He said that among other things, he had received word—an academic official at the school disputes Sherrod's assertion—that he was getting an incomplete in one course. "He said he wasn't in school anymore," recalls Johnnie Mae. "He was going somewhere to get in shape to try out for a [pro] team. I asked him where, and he said, 'I don't know. Somewhere.' "
The other fact that Sherrod revealed to both his mother and his cousins that day was that he had obtained another gun. Johnnie Mae cannot remember whether she said anything to him about it. "He knew how I felt about that," she says.
He mentioned the gun to Powell when he told her, almost casually, that he had already attempted suicide twice, the first time with pills. "And I tried to do it once with the gun," he added, "but you were upstairs." Stunned, Powell said she thought Cremins had taken away his gun. Sherrod gave her a level look and replied, "I am not going to give you my gun."