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Ind. doctor nabbed in Italy gets 7 years in prison

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm •  Published: October 12, 2012

He apologized earlier during Friday's hearing, saying he had no explanation.

"I'm sorry. I lied. I stole. I betrayed a sacred trust. I have no excuse. There is no excuse. I am sorry," Weinberger said.

He said he let many people down, listing his family, colleagues, employees, friends and patients, saying he wished he could make it up to them.

"The best I can do is spend every minute trying to redeem myself," he said. "Is redemption possible? I don't know. But please, your honor, let me try."

Several of his victims said they were satisfied with the sentence.

"It was all right," said Bill Boyer, of Gary, who won a $300,000 medical malpractice judgment against Weinberger but hasn't received any money because the case is being appealed. "I would have preferred 10, but I'll take seven."

Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, the sister of Phyllis Barnes, a patient Weinberger treated for sinus problems but didn't diagnose the advanced throat cancer that killed her, said she was pleased with the judge's decision.

"No sentence would be long enough to satisfy me or the rest of her family. But it turned out better than we hoped," she said.

Weinberger has already spent nearly three years behind bars. He was arrested in December 2009 arrest in Italy on a snowy mountainside where authorities said he had been living in a tent. He stabbed himself in the neck while being taken into custody and spent time recovering in a hospital before being returned to the U.S.

His attorney, Visvaldis Kupsis, said the sentence was fair. Kupsis' had argued the case as one of simple theft that had been blown up by the press.

"The judge took a lot of things into consideration. I was hoping he was going to give him less time. But I understand the logic behind it," he said.

Kupsis said Weinberger was "not displeased" by the sentence.

"He was hoping he was going to get less. But he was not displeased," he said.