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Doctor charged in overdose deaths pleads not guilty

September 28, 2012 | 11:20 am

Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng appears in a Los Angeles courtroom for a preliminary hearing on Monday, June 4, 2012.

A Rowland Heights physician charged with murder in connection with the overdose deaths of three patients pleaded not guilty Friday.

Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng, 42, wearing a blue jumpsuit, was silent throughout her brief arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Before the hearing began, Tseng met several new attorneys handling her defense.

Tseng is charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of three men in their 20s and is accused of recklessly prescribing narcotic painkillers and other addictive drugs. She is the first doctor accused of murder by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office over the prescribing of drugs.

Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria in June ordered Tseng to stand trial for murder, saying the evidence suggested the doctor may have "improperly used her prescription pad to cause irreparable harm." Tseng's three-week preliminary hearing included more than 40 prosecution witnesses.

Tseng is charged in connection with the deaths of Joey Rovero, 21, an Arizona State University student who died in San Ramon, Calif.; Vu Nguyen, 28, of Lake Forest; and Steven Ogle, 24, of Palm Desert.

Tseng has been in custody since her arrest March 1 and is being held in lieu of $3 million bail. She is expected to appear in court Oct. 11.


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Photo: In June, Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom for a preliminary hearing. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times