Murder trial begins for neurosurgeon accused of over-prescribing opioids, could serve life in prison

Written by Alan Condon | January 30, 2020 | Print  |

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based neurosurgeon Thomas Keller, MD, faces a potential prison term of 60 years to life for allegedly causing four patient deaths by overprescribing opioids from 2011 to 2017, The Press Democrat reports.

The trial began Jan. 29 and accuses Dr. Keller of second-degree murder of four Sonoma County, Calif., residents.

On the first day of testimony, prosecutors told the court how a female patient died after overdosing on oxycodone, two days after Dr. Keller prescribed her 120 pills in 2014.

Dr. Keller is also charged with four felony counts of providing prescriptions without legitimate medical purposes linked to four other patients and one count of elder abuse.

He was arrested in August and remains in Sonoma County Jail, with bail set at $12 million.

Dr. Keller previously served a six-month prison term after he was found guilty of engaging in sexual misconduct with several patients in 1989, according to The Press Democrat. His medical license was revoked after his conviction but reinstated in 1994. 

Editor's note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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