Vegas jury Jury weighing fate of doctor in overdose murder case

LAS VEGAS" A jury in Las Vegas is weighing the fate of a Nevada physician charged with murder in the death of a patient prosecutors say overdosed on pain relievers he sold her.

A prosecutor characterized Dr. Harriston Bass Jr. as a pusher of painkillers that he allegedly delivered to patients at hotel rooms and homes from a PT Cruiser equipped with a portable refrigerator. He called his medical practice Docs 24-7.

Bass, 54, described himself as a skilled doctor who helped patients get quality medical care and cheaper medications " a "one-man team" who performed house calls for ailing patients.

He is standing trial in Clark County District Court on charges of second-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old Gina Micali, who died in October 2005 after taking the pain reliever hydrocodone, and the illegal sale of controlled substances.

Murder can be charged under Nevada state law if someone dies from drugs they receive illegally from a dealer.

Bass was arrested in December 2006 after investigators linked drugs found in Micali's home to him.

Authorities reported finding more than 10,000 doses of prescription drugs and $150,000 in cash at Bass' home in a gated golf course community west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Bass' defense lawyers, David Lee Phillips, said his client always followed the law and was "not some street dealer."

Bass testified that he was merely doing his job and that he believed he could legally sell prescription drugs for a profit.

Deputy Chief state Attorney General Conrad Hafen said that while Bass had a license to prescribe drugs, he did not have a license to dispense and sell controlled substances.

Bass earlier lost an appeal of a medical malpractice finding by the state Board of Medical Examiners in connection with the deaths of two patients in the 1990s after surgery.

He was given three years' probation and ordered to have another doctor assist him with surgeries.

Micali's family filed a civil lawsuit against Bass in 2006.


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal,


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