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Danville VA doctor faces homicide charges after three patients’ deaths

Dr. John K. Sturman Jr. was arrested on Wednesday on charges of reckless homicide in Marion County. Sturman is accused of over-prescribing narcotics for pain management, resulting in three deaths. He also faces 16 counts of issuing invalid prescription drugs, according to an announcement made by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry on Friday.

The arrest comes after a four-year investigation conducted by the Grand Jury Division of the prosecutor’s office in conjunction with the Indiana attorney general’s Licensing Enforcement Section and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which found that 35 patients died while under Sturman’s care at a clinic at Indiana University Hospital. Of those 35, 15 died within 30 days of being issued a prescription by Sturman.

Sturman is currently a neurologist and staff physician at the Danville veterans medical center pain management clinic, where he has worked for the past five months. He is awaiting an extradition hearing at the Vermilion County jail, but could be transported back to Indianapolis within the week, according to Marion County prosecutors.

“Over-prescribing pain medication is not only unethical, but reckless. Addiction to pain medication is a widespread problem, and physicians and medical personnel who enable and endanger addicted patients should be held accountable,” said Curry. The prosecutor’s office also stated that Sturman could spend the next 24 years in jail if convicted of the three most severe charges.