Clayton News Daily
Former Jonesboro psychiatrist pleads not guilty to murder charges
By Kayla Langmaid
JONESBORO — A former Jonesboro psychiatrist accused of murder pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Clayton County Superior Court.
Narendra Kumar Nagareddy, 57, of McDonough was arrested in January and indicted by a grand jury in May for three counts of felony murder and 59 counts of unauthorized distribution of a controlled substance, which allegedly resulted in his clients’ deaths.
Nagareddy was granted $460,000 bond June 6 by Clayton County Superior Court Judge Matthew Simmons.
Nagareddy’s attorney Steven Frey said this week maintains his client’s innocence.
“He is innocent and we expect to win this case,” Frey said.
Frey said Nagareddy is currently on house arrest.
The Clayton County District Attorney’s Office said the three murder victims are just a few of the patients who were allegedly affected by Nagareddy’s practice, Psychiatry Associates of South Atlanta P.C., which now sits vacant on Arrowhead Boulevard.
Nagareddy has been charged with violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, for allegedly prescribing controlled substances while not acting in the usual course of his practice of psychiatry and not prescribing those medications for a legitimate medical purpose, according to Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.
Lawson said the three victims in this case are local victims, Audrey Austin, 29; David Robinson, 49; and Cheryl Pennington, 47.
Investigation into Austin’s death revealed she filled several prescriptions from Nagareddy on Feb. 20, 2014, for 90 alprazolam 1 mg tablets and 90 methadone 10 mg tablets, according to a search warrant.
The next day, Austin filled a prescription issued from Nagareddy for 60 amphetamine 30 mg tablets. Austin died later that day from a prescription overdose, according to the warrant.
Forest Park Police Department officers arrived at Austin’s home and spoke with her husband who found his wife unresponsive, the warrant states.
Austin had recently been discharged from RiverWoods Behavioral Health System in Riverdale for depression and anxiety, according to officials, and Austin’s husband reportedly told police his deceased wife had a history of drug abuse.
At least 11 counts against Nagareddy include his negligence to sign or date his prescriptions given to patients, Lawson said.
According to the warrant, Nagareddy could face additional murder charges as 36 of his patients have died after he prescribed them controlled substances. Through autopsy reports, it has been shown that 12 of the 36 patients died because of prescription drug intoxication.
Nagareddy faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.