Latah County Prosecutor Craig Mosman says he moved to dismiss an involuntary manslaughter charge against a Nevada mail-order pharmacy because it served justice better than going to trial.
In an interview Tuesday, Mosman emphasized the settlement he reached with attorneys for Medco Containment Services had nothing to do with the quality of his case against them in connection with the Jan. 28 death of Iris Hemmelman of Princeton."The merits of the case had nothing to do with the eventual outcome," he said. "From the beginning, I said it was going to be difficult to prosecute, but I wouldn't have filed the case if I hadn't thought I could prove it."
Charles Lempesis, Kootenai County public defender and one of the attorneys for Medco, disagreed.
"It became obvious that this wasn't going to be a prosecution that was going to be successful," he said.
Lawyers on both sides were prohibited from discussing the involuntary manslaughter case until last week when 2nd District Judge John Bengtson lifted a gag order he had imposed Oct. 7.
Mosman launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Hemmelman's death last February, and on June 22 filed an involuntary manslaughter charge against National RX Services, a division of Medco Containment Services.
He contended the company pressured its pharmacists to fill prescriptions too quickly, showing a reckless disregard that resulted in Hemmel-man's death.
An autopsy showed the 70-year-old piano teacher's blood contained a toxic level of coumadin, a blood-thinning agent often prescribed for heart patients. Investigators found couma-din tablets in a bottle from National RX Services labeled "prednisone," an anti-inflammatory drug that had been prescribed for Hemmelman.
Lempesis said Mosman would not have been able to prove the "reckless disregard" required for a an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
"That recklessness just wasn't there," he said.
But Mosman said Lempesis "knows that isn't true. It's just inaccurate to say it couldn't have been proven."