Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 25, 2013

Judge hears bond arguments in Wagoner cases

By Mike Fletcher
Tribune staff writer

— Requests for bond reductions for six of the nine employees of Wagoner Medical Clinic who were charged with numerous felony drug charges were taken under advisement Thursday by Howard Superior Court 1 Judge William Menges.

Menges heard arguments for nearly 3 1/2 hours from an array of attorneys in the cases.

If the defendants are granted bond reductions, the judge said he would place an array of bond requirements including an agreement that the doctors not prescribe any controlled substances, have no contact with any patients, surrender their passports if they have one and appear at all future court hearings.

After working out the details of the requirements, Menges said he would issue his ruling either later today or Friday.

Howard County Deputy Prosecutor Ron Byal’s main argument was the defendants present a danger to the public through their medical practice.

Defense attorneys argued none of the defendants has a criminal history and they are not a threat to flee nor present a danger to the public.

The defendants all waived their initial hearings in their cases and Menges set a June 28 omnibus hearing, a July 11 pretrial hearing and a July 26 trial in all the cases.

Prosecutors charged the owners of the clinics, Drs. Don Wagoner and Marilyn Wagoner, with 20 and 19 felonies respectively. The charges include Class A felony charges of dealing in narcotic drugs and conspiracy to deal controlled substances.

The others also face an array of felony charges including dealing and conspiracy to deal narcotics.

The charges arose from an investigation launched by the Kokomo Police Department, Howard County Drug Task Force, FBI, DEA, Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Howard County Prosecutor’s office. The Wagoner Clinic has two offices, one in Kokomo and one in Burlington. Prosecutors allege the clinic was overprescribing narcotic pain pills to a number of patients.

The following are the defendants and their bonds:

• Dr. Don Wagoner - $1 million, no percent

• Dr. Marilyn Wagoner - $1 million, no percent

• Dr. William Terpstra - $1 million, no percent

• Dr. Robert Brewer - $75,000 with 10 percent allowed

• Physician assistant, Gary Hartman, $75,000 with no 10 percent allowed

• Physician assistant Thomas Hewitt - $75,000 no 10 percent allowed

• Physician assistant John Thomas - $75,000 with no 10 percent allowed

• Nurse Linda Richards - $75,000 with 10 percent allowed

• Office Manager Michelle Wagoner - $75,000 10 percent allowed

Brewer, Richards and Michelle Wagoner had already posted bail and were released pending court hearings.

The Wagoners requested they be allowed to post 10 percent of the $1 million bond, while Terpstra requested his bond be reduced to $30,000 with 10 percent allowed.

Thomas requested his bond be reduced to $50,000 with 10 percent allowed. Hartman and Hewitt wanted the judge to allow them to post 10 percent of their bonds.