North Huntingdon doctor ruled competent to stand trial in 2 drug overdose deaths
A former North Huntingdon doctor is competent to stand trial in connection with the 2016 drug overdose deaths of two patients, a Westmoreland County judge ruled Tuesday.
But the attorney for Michel Toret, 73, of Jeannette, doesn’t believe the case will go before a jury. Attorney Michael DeRiso said Toret plans to enter a guilty plea next week.
Toret is charged with drug delivery resulting in death and related offenses in connection with the fatal overdoses of Heather Dervin, 26, of North Huntingdon, and Glenn Morgan, 30, of Level Green.
DeRiso requested in March an evaluation of Toret after an apparent decline in the defendant’s mental condition since his arrest in December 2017. A report from that evaluation, dated May 8, showed that Toret was competent to stand trial, said Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio.
Investigators allege Toret overprescribed methadone, a drug given to heroin users to wean them from addiction, to Dervin, who died on Sept. 6, 2016. They also allege he overprescribed the painkiller oxymorphone to Morgan, who died on Oct. 10, 2016.
Those prescriptions were picked up and filled locally by Morgan’s family members, who then mailed the pills to him in Kansas, where he was working and later died, according to court papers.
Toret had practiced family medicine more than 40 years and voluntarily surrendered his medical license in November 2016 after authorities began investigating his prescribing practices. His license expired at the end of 2018, according to state records.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .