Jury acquits Indianapolis doctor charged in patients' deaths

May 16, 2017

A former Indianapolis doctor has been found not guilty of all charges in the deaths of three people whom prosecutors said overdosed on painkillers that he prescribed.

A jury acquitted Dr. John K. Sturman of reckless homicide and 16 counts of improperly prescribing drugs on Monday following a six-day trial.

WRTV-TV reports the patients died in 2010 and 2011 while Sturman operated a clinic at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. He lost admitting privileges there in 2012.

He was originally charged with 19 counts, but the trial court dismissed several counts. An appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals led to reinstatement of reckless homicide counts. The case also raised two issues of first impression: when the statute of limitations period should be calculated for reckless homicide and whether the phrase “legitimate medical purpose,” which is not defined by statute, is unconstitutionally void for vagueness.

After his tenure at IU Health, Sturman worked as the chief of pain management for the VA Illiana Health Care System. The health network's website does not currently list him on staff.


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