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Oklahoma ex-doctor pleads guilty to deaths from over-prescribed pills

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A former Oklahoma City doctor pleaded guilty in Oklahoma County District Court on Wednesday to over-prescribing medication that led to the deaths of eight people.

William Martin Valuck, 72, will serve eight years in prison for eight counts of second-degree murder, according to court documents.

He was arrested in December on multiple homicide charges and 43 counts of illegal drug distribution. In return for hefty payments, prosecutors said, he prescribed large amounts of addictive medicines to patients he hardly examined.

The medicines included high quantities of extremely addictive controlled substances such as oxycodone and alprazolam, according to an affidavit.

The doctor had been working out of an office in Oklahoma City and surrendered his license to practice medicine in December as authorities were closing in on him after a year-long investigation, Oklahoma authorities said.

Valuck was previously convicted in 2001 and sentenced to 70 months in prison on charges of money laundering and defrauding investors, according to Oklahoma court documents.

He was released in 2005 and had lived briefly in Texas before his arrest.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz)

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