Details About Palestine Doctor's Criminal Problems - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/11/06-Palestine

Details About Palestine Doctor's Criminal Problems

Dr. Robert Byrnes practiced pain management at the Palestine Medical and Rehabilitation Clinic until late in August. 

Now, he has three indictments pending against him in Anderson County, one for insurance fraud, one for ID theft, and one for prescribing medicine while his DEA registration was suspended.

Detective Larry Mars with the Palestine Police Department says, "Without that number from the DEA, he can no longer posess a controlled substance anymore than you or I can."

In August, Palestine police officers seized more than 200 prescription pills from Byrnes' car.  Among them were 18 tablets of methadone, 51 of oxycodone, and seven hydrocodone. There's no indictment on these charges, because the grand jury hasn't heard evidence in this case yet.

Detective Mars says all of the pills seized are the kind which frequently find their way to the black market.

"Now, I'm not suggesting that Dr. Byrnes was doing so. I'm simply saying these are the kinds of drugs that find their way to the street where they're sold per tablet."

When they do make it to the street, they can have a devastating affect. On May 15th, Kilgore police responded to a house on Thomas Street only to find 24 year old David Jones dead of a prescription overdose.

The former football player and young father to 18 month old Kaydence had battled a prescription drug addiction since high school. His family believes he bought a bottle of methadone-hydrochloride from someone off the street. It was found in his room after his death. The medicine was originally prescribed to someone else by Dr. Robert Byrnes.

Jones' girlfriend, who doesn't want to be identified, found him that night.

"You know, he had a problem, but the person who gave it to him... was it worth putting some money in their pocket? Taking the life of a 24 year old man who had a one year old daughter."

Palestine police say linking the doctor to the overdose could prove difficult, but they are interested in talking with David's family about what happened that night. Right now, Byrnes is facing multiple 3rd degree and state jail felonies. If convicted, he could serve as many as ten years in prison.

We tried unsuccesfully to reach Dr. Byrnes and his attorney today for comment.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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