A former Oklahoma City doctor has been sentenced to spend a year in prison for each person he murdered.
William Martin Valuck, 71, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court to eight counts of second-degree murder and was given an eight-year prison sentence by Special Judge Susan Johnson. Because of the nature of his crimes, he will have to serve nearly seven years before being eligible for parole.
Valuck, a former osteopathic physician and surgeon, was accused by prosecutors of causing several deaths by over-prescribing pain and anti-anxiety medications to his patients.
Patients Paul Beesley, Joyce Curnett, Christina Green, Lorra Hilton, Victoria Pretzer, SaShawn Saatian, Michelle Salazar and Jennifer Zimmerman all died from drug toxicity.
Valuck did not address any of the two dozen or so family members of victims in the courtroom during Wednesday’s hearing, many of whom addressed the court with stories and photos of family members before Valuck entered his plea.
Valuck showed no emotion throughout the proceedings and made no comment while being led to and from the courtroom.
“I honestly don’t feel any sympathy for Mr. Valuck. ... All this just to make a buck. I wonder if he’ll ever feel regret, or just regret getting caught,” said Michael Green, Christina Green’s brother.
“I just hope doctors would know what they’re doing when they dispense medications, so hopefully we won’t have to go through this again,” said James Lambert, father of Victoria Pretzer.
In exchange for the plea to the murders, numerous drug charges against Valuck were dismissed.
He initially had faced 72 counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance.
During an earlier preliminary hearing, one murder count was dismissed. Valuck previously had been charged with the murder of a man killed in a car crash caused by a patient reportedly driving while high on medications the doctor prescribed.
At the preliminary hearing, a Drug Enforcement Administration investigator testified that she witnessed vehicles full of patients arrive at the Advanced Care Clinic, 6501 S Western Ave., where Valuck practiced. Most patients were prescribed a combination of the painkiller hydrocodone, the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, and the muscle relaxer carisoprodol. Oxycodone later was added to the cocktail, investigator Mary Surovec testified.
>>Read: Preliminary hearing started for doctor charged with eight counts of murder (Published April 30, 2014)
>>Read: Former Oklahoma City doctor charged with nine counts of murder (Published Jan. 9, 2014)
>>Read: Former doctor blamed in Oklahoma for eight patient deaths (Published Dec. 29, 2013)