Nurse alleged to have stolen pills from patients back in court

Terri Bell was back in court. A plea hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, at 9:30 a.m., in Boone County Circuit Court in Madison.

MADISON — A former home health nurse in Boone County was in court Wednesday, July 24, for a status and motions hearing.

Terri Lynn Bell, 51, of Danville, was originally arrested several months ago and charged with the abuse of two incapacitated adults. According to court documents, Bell committed the crimes over the month of February of this year.

The documents first explain Bell’s alleged crimes against the first victim. Those documents read that Bell was working as nurse and was going to the victim’s apartment to care for him. The victim suffered from a mental disability that makes her “unable to carry out the daily activities necessary to sustain life.”

The documents go one to read that Bell stole the victim’s prescribed medication, in this case, Clonazepam. That female victim had to be hospitalized as a result of not receiving her medication.

Deputies with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office said Bell admitted to them that she stole the victim’s medication and replaced it with former medication and birth control pills.

Bell’s second victim, according to those same documents, is a male, who was in the same state as the previous, unable to take care of himself.

In this case, however, Bell “attempted to present or cause a controlled substance prescription claim to be made to the medical programs of the Department of Health and Human Resources.”

Bell allegedly obtained possession of that victim’s Clonazepam “by unlawfully removing the pills” and once again, substituting other medications.

The male victim, according to deputies, was also hospitalized as a result of not having his medication.

Bell is charged with two counts of abuse or neglect of an incapacitated adult, two counts of obtaining by fraud, and attempted Medicaid fraud, bribery, false claims, and conspiracy.

Bell’s attorney and the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office informed the judge that both sides were close to reaching a plea agreement, so the judge set Wednesday, July 15, at 9:30 a.m. for a plea hearing.

Neither side are allowed to discuss the plea negotiations or possible deal that may be reached in the case.

However, the father of one of Bell’s alleged victims says he wants justice.

“Terri Bell committed inexcusable acts that have affected our family trust and our faith. These acts will have a long term affect on our son’s work opportunities and social future,” said Richard Covert of Madison. “Our son, Zachary Covert has lost his work value and he now has a reputation that will follow him and make it almost impossible to find another job and social connections.”

Covert said what Bell did was worse than buying drugs at a street corner.

“It’s worse than breaking into someone’s home to steal drugs and it is worse than stealing medicines fromt he pill drawer at a hospital,” Covert said. “She schemed and used the benefit of her nursing job to steal drugs and substitute the wrong drugs for two incapacitated adults. This will affect them the rest of their lives.”

Covert said justice in his opinion would be for Bell to lose her nursing license forever without any chance of getting it back.

“She should never be allowed to be a nurse or trusted with anyone’s care ever again and she should also spend some real time in jail with drug rehab,” he said. “We also think after jail, she should spend several years on home confinement.”

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