The Mountain Eagle
Whitesburg KY
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Mostly cloudy

Grand jury indicts coroner, wife on narcotics charges

INSIDE: 17 others are also indicted.

Letcher County’s coroner and his wife are named in indictments charging them with obtaining prescriptions for narcotics by fraud and for stealing controlled substances from the Whitesburg hospital.

Coroner John S. Cornett is charged with 13 counts of obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance by fraud in an indictment returned last week by Letcher County grand jury.

The grand jury says Cornett, 35, of 12121 Hwy. 60, Whitesburg, obtained one prescription by fraud for oxycodone from Whitesburg dentist Dr. Kevin O. Roark, 11 prescriptions by fraud for hydrocodone from former Whitesburg dentist Dr. Sherry D. Slone, and one prescription by fraud for hydrocodone from Dr. Ricky Collins, a physician at the Whitesburg hospital.

The grand jury says the crimes occurred from July 12, 2006 to February 15, 2008.

Agent Robert Duff of the Office of the Attorney General testified in the case.

Cornett’s wife, Andrea L. Cornett, theft of a controlled substance.

In an indictment handed up Nov. 6 to Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright, the grand jury says Mrs. Cornett, 31, took morphine and/or demerol belonging to Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital in December 2007, January 2008, February 2008, and March 2008.

Kentucky State Police Detective Gary Sandlin testified in the case against Mrs. Cornett.

Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II has asked the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the cases against the Cornetts, saying the move is necessary because local prosecutors have worked frequently with John Cornett in death investigations and trials involving murder cases.

“We are anticipating a hearing in December,” said Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jack Conway. “Everything is being handled in Letcher County.”

John Cornett is in his second term as Letcher County coroner and received more votes than any other candidate running for county office in the 2006 general election.

For the past several months, however, the duties of the coroner have been handled by deputies Robbie Campbell and Wallace Bolling. An old sheriff’s cruiser that had been issued to Cornett for his use as coroner was taken away from him several weeks ago.

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