Attorneys give opening statements in opioid case involving Toney doctor

Attorneys give opening statements in opioid case involving Toney doctor

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Tuesday, the United States of America made its opening statement against a Toney doctor.

Federal prosecutors allege Dr. Celia Lloyd Turney illegally gave opioids to patients 15 different times, and have charged her for each incident.

Turney operated the Choice Medicine clinic in Madison County.

United States District Court Judge Liles Burke oversaw jury selection at the federal courthouse in downtown Huntsville, and presided over opening statements when they began at roughly 4:30 p.m..

The prosecution

Prosecutors asked the jury to find Turney guilty of all 15 counts. They allege Turney violated two key principals:

  1. She operated outside the scope of medical practice when giving the pills
  2. There was no legitimate medical purposes for her to give the pills.

The prosecution said one of Turney’s patients, Felicia Ann Kelly, overdosed and died in 2016 as a direct result of Turney’s illegal distribution of the pills.

The prosecution alleges Turney told Kelly’s husband to hide the prescription bottles with her name on it.

The federal indictment states Turney gave three other patients hundreds of pills within months of each other.

The prosecution told the jury Turney sold pills for cash and operated a “pill closet” where she would refill patients as requested, and prescribed toxic drug mixtures.

The defense

The defense argued Turney is innocent of the charges.

Attorney Erica Barnes said Turney did not keep records like she should and was too trusting of patients.

However, Barnes said Turney was operating in her capacity as a doctor and there were legitimate medical reasons for the prescriptions.

Barnes told the jury testimony from Turney’s staff and other experts will support this claim.

She said Turney is a mother at heart, and naive about the challenges of taking care of pain during the opioid epidemic.

Barnes gave an exclusive comment to WAFF 48 News after court closed and said: “Dr. Turney is a compassionate physician who spent 30 years of her life treating the people this community. She’s not a drug dealer and she’s eager for an opportunity to defend herself in court.”

The jury returns to the courtroom Wednesday morning.

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