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Judge refuses to lower bail for doctor charged with murder

March 8, 2013 | 10:30 am

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Friday denied a defense request to lower the $3 million bail for a Rowland Heights physician charged with second-degree murder in the overdose deaths of three patients.

Lisa Tseng has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on charges that she recklessly prescribed powerful painkillers to young patients seeking to abuse drugs.

In a 23-page bail motion, Tseng's attorneys described the effects of Tseng's incarceration on her sons, one of whom started elementary school while his mother was in the county's lockup. When Tseng was arrested March 1, 2012, her sons, ages 6 and 9, thought she "had taken a short trip to China on work-related matters. They believe that she is still in China," according to the bail motion.

Judge George G. Lomeli said that "although it is a very sad situation," the charges against Tseng are serious, that three young men were dead and that her bail was appropriate.

Tseng's attorney, Tracy Green, said the bail is "very high" and that the case will take a "long time to try." Tseng, she said, is not a threat to the public because she surrendered her medical license. 

Tseng's case is the first time the Los Angeles County district attorney's office has sought murder charges in connection with a physician's prescribing practices. 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.


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-- Hailey Branson-Potts