Santa Rosa doctor accused over prescribing opioids, now facing murder charges

Bay Area

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — A Santa Rosa neurosurgeon is facing 2nd degree murder charges after state authorities say he’s responsible for killing five patients by giving them an obscene amount of pain pills. 

It’s a first of its kind case for California.

Thomas Keller, 72, who is also a pain management specialist, is accused of signing off on anywhere from 180 to 300 powerful painkillers per prescription to his patients. 

A complaint is Sonoma County Superior Court alleges Keller did this while ignoring warnings from pharmacies and insurance companies from October 2011 to July 2017.  

This follows a federal indictment from 2018 alleging Keller illegally distributed opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl and tramadol to patients from June 2017 to July 2018. 

Keller’s last known office was on Farmers Lane in Santa Rosa. 

People who shared offices next to him did not want to be on camera but did describe keller as a strange man and an ardent Donald Trump supporter. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement on this latest case saying in part, “Doctors take an oath to protect patients and not engage in behavior that can risk their health and safety. The opioid epidemic is destroying our communities and taking our loved ones.” 

Keller is facing a series of charges including four counts of murder, elder abuse and four counts of prescribing opioids without a legitimate purpose.  

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