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Doctor gets plea deal

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Published:   |   Updated: May 1, 2013 at 11:30 AM
BROOKSVILLE -

The pain management doctor who trafficked drugs, sold prescriptions for money and was a principal to a woman who practiced medicine without a license will avoid prison time.

Harold Sleight, 71, showed some reservation on entering a guilty plea and losing his driver’s license at the stand on Tuesday, telling his attorney, Winston Taitt, he thought he would be entering a no-contest plea.

“It’s between losing your (driver’s) license for two years versus 10 years in prison,” Judge Anthony Tatti reminded Sleight.

Sleight was arrested on Nov. 1, 2011, after the sheriff’s office executed a search warrant at Hope Pain Management Clinic, 1250 Mariner Blvd. The arrest of Sleight and Lynn Hutchinson, who was writing prescriptions but was not a medical doctor, was the culmination of an 18-month investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

State prosecutors have since filed the following charges: two counts of principal to practicing medicine without an active license, two counts of principal to practicing medicine without a license, writing a prescription for money, trafficking in a controlled substance, two charges of possession of a controlled substance and four counts of possessing a medical drug without a prescription.

Sleight did not have anything to say to the court before he was sentenced to 15 years of drug offender probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. Sleight owes about $107,000 total in court costs, as well as $28,000 to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office for investigation costs. The sheriff’s office is willing to accept $15,000 as full payment if paid within 48 hours.

Tatti said Sleight was facing up to 65 years in prison for the charges, and if he violates the terms of his probation, will likely face prison time.

Sleight will complete his probation in Charlotte County, where he resides. He must also relinquish his medical license.

Hutchinson, 47, has agreed to a plea deal and will be sentenced to one year and one day in prison and 10 years of drug offender probation later this month.

Assistant State Attorney Sonny McCathran previously told Hernando Today that when Hutchinson is sentenced on May 28, she’ll receive one year and one day in prison and 10 years of drug offender probation. “The most important condition is she is not permitted to own a business related to, and/or work in, the health care or medical field,” McCathran said.


wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5283

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