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Judge denies defense’s motion to drop murder charges against William Husel

Husel is accused of administering potentially lethal doses of fentanyl to patients under his care.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Franklin County judge has denied a motion to drop the murder charges filed against a former Mount Carmel doctor. 

The ruling comes Friday after the defense sought to toss the 25 murder charges against Dr. William Husel, alleging that former Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s office misled the grand jury and withheld information about one of his patients.  

Following careful consideration, Judge Michael Holbrook determined the defense "failed to sufficiently demonstrate" that O'Brien's actions were to the extent of prosecutorial misconduct. 

Husel is accused of administering potentially lethal doses of fentanyl to patients under his care. 

His legal team has claimed prosecutors’ assertion that 500 micrograms of fentanyl being a potentially lethal dose is based on flawed science. Specifically, the defense focused on one of Husel’s patients who received 2,500 micrograms of fentanyl and survived another 10 days before passing away in early December 2014. 

The defense alleged O'Brian withheld that patient's medical records from the grand jury and, in doing so, provided insufficient information. 

Husel was indicted on murder charges in June 2019. At the time, O’Brien said, “I have found no one, nowhere that says 500 micrograms of fentanyl is appropriate dose of fentanyl for treatment of someone being taken off a ventilator.” 

According to Judge Holbrook, Ohio law states a prosecutor is not obligated to provide evidence that could potentially prove a defendant's innocence to the grand jury. 

As a result, Judge Holbrook deemed O'Brien's failure to present medical records "not grounds for dismissal under the theory of prosecutorial misconduct." 

Additionally, Judge Holbrook said it would be "improper" to imply O'Brien's comments made during a press conference were also made for members of the grand jury, adding, "The Court cannot say that the presentation of this information is inflammatory or otherwise operated to improperly influence the grand jury."   

Husel pleaded not guilty to all charges. His trial is slated for February. 

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