George Blatti, the former Franklin Square-based physician charged with five counts of second-degree murder in 2019 for overprescribing opioid to five drug-addicted patients who died between 2016 and 2018, was denied bail on Wednesday by a Nassau County judge.
Blatti, 75, was remanded in March to Nassau County jail with no possibility of bail by the acting State Supreme Court Justice.
At a bail hearing on Wednesday, Blatti’s defense attorney, Nancy Bartling, argued that the former physician is no longer a danger to the public because he is no longer able to prescribe medication. Bartling proposed bail of $250,000 or more, along with home confinement, electronic monitoring and passport surrender.
"This is not a violent murderer with a rap sheet a mile long. This is a man who was a respected physician … and with no criminal record," Bartling said, arguing that Blatti, the former physician who is originally from Malverne, had been overcharged.
Blatti was charged with five counts of second-degree murder and 11 counts of reckless endangerment, as well as 22 counts of criminal sale of prescriptions for a controlled substance, six counts of second-degree forgery, two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and 22 counts of fourth-degree criminal diversion of prescription medications that he was previously charged with in November 2019.
Throughout Blatti’s case, Nassau prosecutors have noted that Blatti is the first doctor to face second-degree murder charges in New York State under the theory of a defendant acting with depraved indifference to human life.
“He is a serial killer in our opinion,” said former Nassau County DA Madeline Singas in March. “His prescription pad was as deadly as any lethal weapon.”
Blatti formerly practiced from a makeshift office inside what was one a Franklin Square RadioShack that still contained merchandise racks on the walls and outdoor store signage. Then, when Blatti lost access to that space in 2019, he began prescribing medications from the parking lot of a Rockville Centre hotel he was living in at that time.
When the Nassau County Police Department’s Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit began investigating opioid overdoses in August 2018, it found that several individuals had obtained prescriptions from Blatti, then a general practitioner with no specialized training in pain management, Singas said in March.
Four other patients died under the care of Blatti, who is originally from Malverne; his victims were residents of Valley Stream, Hempstead and Floral Park, according to prosecutors.
“If his drug-addicted patient asked for more drugs, he simply wrote them more scripts,” Singas said at a news conference, alleging that this practice led to the premature deaths of Sabatasso, Michael Kinzer, Robert Mielinis, Sean Quigley and Diane Woodring.
“They’re our neighbors, they’re our family, they’re our loved ones,” Singas said of the five victims. Blatti prescribed his patients a “staggering amount of opioids,” Singas said, adding that “no amount of willpower could overcome” these drugs.
Blatti pleaded not guilty to the charges –second-degree murder and reckless endangerment – brought against him in March. The Nassau County district attorney’s office has been investigating whether Blatti’s prescriptions led to further deaths. He faces 25 years to life in prison.
Blatti’s attorney Bartling, who said at Wednesday’s hearing that “The facts do not support a murder charge here by any means,” said that Blatti intends to see his case through to a trial.