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Murder Charges Filed Against California Doctor For 3 Overdose Deaths

SAN RAMON (KCBS) – A Southern California doctor is facing murder charges for prescribing drugs that led to the overdose deaths of three men, including a college student from San Ramon.

Dr. Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng was arraigned on Friday on 24 counts, including second degree murder, one felony count of prescribing drugs using fraud and 20 felony counts of prescribing drugs without a legitimate purpose.

KCBS' Bob Butler Reports:

Tseng is charged with murder in the deaths of 21-year-old Joey Rovero, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon, 28-year-old Vu Nguyen of Lake Forest and 25-year-old Steven Ogle of Palm Desert.

"I was really shocked to hear that it was as strong a charge as it was," said April Rovero, the mother of Joey Rovero. "There is a feeling of relief because I have to believe this doctor will no longer practice medicine, so others won't be harmed."

According to prosecutors, Tseng wrote 27,000 prescriptions from 2007 to 2010. Rovero drove from Arizona to Los Angeles to get Oxycodone and Xanax from Tseng before he died of an overdose in 2009.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who filed the charges, said that the case should be a warning to physicians pushing pills on patients. Tseng is believed to be one of only a handful of doctors across the country to be charged with murder related to prescription drugs.

"There's a new prosecutorial focus on these pill mills, which are doctors that are creating a cottage industry of addicts," said South Bay legal analyst Steven Clark.

Tseng is being held in lieu of $3 million bail.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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