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Tallulah doctor seeks to delay prescription fraud trial

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Tallulah physician whose home in Vicksburg was raided by narcotics agents in 2011 will attempt Monday to have his trial delayed after retaining a new defense attorney.
Dr. Lawrence Francis Chenier III, 61, who lives in Vicksburg but practices medicine in Tallulah, will appear at 10 a.m. Monday to attempt to have his trial postponed.
Trial is currently set for July 21 before Circuit Judge M. James Chaney.
Chenier recently hired attorney Lisa Ross of Jackson after being represented by Marshal Sanders.
Last month Sanders argued that Mississippi had no jurisdiction in the case involving 74 counts of prescription forgery and a single count of conspiracy against Chenier. He contended that the offenses Chenier are accused of occurred in Louisiana.
Prosecutors have argued that all the drugs — 13,000 pills of painkillers — involved in the indictment were picked up at a Vicksburg pharmacy, thus giving jurisdiction to Warren County.
Chaney ruled that Mississippi had jurisdiction over the case after Sanders failed to provide case law to the contrary.
Chenier is accused of writing the 74 prescriptions under assumed names to his co-defendant and live-in girlfriend Patti Carr of Vicksburg.
Sheriff’s deputies said Carr picked up painkillers hydrocodone and Lyrica using prescriptions from Chenier. More than 300 empty pill bottles were found inside a bedroom closet at the home the couple shared at 100 Colonial Drive.
Carr, who is represented by John Bullard attempted to testify at the jurisdiction hearing against the advise of her attorney. She has filed a petition to enter a guilty plea but the court has not accepted her plea, meaning that her testimony could be used against her.
Chaney ruled that her testimony in the case would have no bearing on jurisdiction.
The couple is also the target of a civil lawsuit filed in January 2012
District Attorney Ricky Smith filed the suit that seeks to seize the home Chenier and Carr shared on Colonial Drive.
The house and land are subject to forfeiture because of having been used to facilitate violation of the Mississippi Uniform Controlled Substances Law, the suit claims.
The suit is still pending before Warren County Judge Johnny Price.
Chenier is currently listed on the roster at Madison Parish Hospital, according to the hospital’s website, however, the state of Louisiana has placed his medical license on probation.
He received his medical degree in 1980 at Meharry Medical College in Nashville and has been in practice since 1982, records show.