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|Doctor who lured men with drugs for sex appeals murder conviction to Ga. Supreme Court|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|March 02, 2011 13:30|
A Georgia doctor convicted of felony murder for prescribing pain medications to a gay lover who later died of an overdose is appealing his case to the Georgia Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case will be heard Monday.
According to a press release from the Georgia Supreme Court, Dr. Noel Chua, who was in his mid-40s, began treating James Bazley Carter III, 19, in Sept. 2005 for debilitating headaches. Chua prescribed Carter such medications as morphine, methadone and oxycodone.
A month later, in October, Carter moved in with Chua in his home in Camden County, nearly 6 hours south of Atlanta near Jacksonville, Fla., while he continued to attend community college.
On Dec. 15, 2005, Chua called 911 and Carter was found dead in the bathroom. Police found loose pills, prescription drug bottles and physician drug samples. Medical experts testified at Chua’s trial in Oct. 2007 that Carter died of a combination methadone, oxycodone and morphine in his system along with other drugs. Chua was found guilty of violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act for distributing morphine, oxycodone and methadone and convicted for felony murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Chua’s attorney, in the appeal to the state Supreme Court, states, “A conviction for murder and a resulting life sentence for a doctor is unconscionable if it is based on the speculation that ‘perhaps’ the drugs prescribed by that doctor were the drugs that caused the victim’s death,” states a press release from the Georgia Supreme Court.
During the trial, prosecutors also told jurors that a year before Carter died, Chua had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy whose family had lived next door to him in Pennsylvania. Chua’s attorney also argues introducing this evidence was not legal and was “highly inflammatory and unfairly prejudicial.”
The state argues, however, that Chua prescribed medications to Carter knowing they were dangerous to him and that he also used his practice to attract young men into having sexual relationships with him.
“Chua knew Carter recently had been rushed to the emergency room for substance abuse, yet he provided him with ‘a litany of highly addictive and potent pain medications’ that was ‘far outside the realm of a legitimate course of medical treatment,’” the state argues, according to the press release.
You can read a summary of the trial by the Florida Times Union here.
Chua is currently being held in Telfair State Prison in Helena, Ga.
Top photo: Noel Chua. (courtesy Georgia Department of Corrections)
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