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Judge: No bail for doctor in painkiller case

Dr. Eric Jacobson comments as DEA agents raid

Dr. Eric Jacobson comments as DEA agents raid his office in Great Neck on Dec. 1, 2012. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A federal judge yesterday ordered a Great Neck doctor who had prescribed painkillers for Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer held without bail pending trial on charges of illegally trafficking in drugs.

"I don't think there are any conditions that could assure the safety of the community" if he allowed Dr. Eric Jacobson to be released on bail, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bianco ruled in Central Islip.

Jacobson, who has been held in jail since he was arrested four weeks ago, openly wept as he entered Bianco's courtroom escorted by federal marshals, and turned to the spectators, alternately crossing his fingers and pointing them skyward, as if to hope for good fortune. Jacobson showed no emotion after Bianco's ruling.

Jacobson's attorney, Anthony Capetola, had asked that his client be released on a bail package of $1.2 million, secured by the homes of his wife's parents and her sister, and a friend.

Capetola said as a condition of bail, his client would be confined to his Huntington home, would be monitored by an electronic bracelet, would not be permitted to use cellphones or computers, and could only be visited by relatives.

Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Treinis Gatz had argued there was no way to assure that Jacobson would not attempt to continue illegal activity.

She noted that the government alleged that Jacobson had continued to be involved in the dispensing of painkillers after he voluntarily had given up his narcotics license, and that he had dispensed prescriptions for painkillers to Laffer and his wife, Melinda Brady, from the doormat of his home for cash. Laffer is serving life in prison in the slayings of four people in a Medford pharmacy; Brady is serving 25 years.

Bianco, noting Treinis Gatz's allegations, said that the proposed bail conditions would depend on Jacobson's self-enforcing them, and this was not acceptable.

Also among the spectators were four members of the family of one of the victims in the Medford pharmacy killings, Bryon Sheffield -- his wife, Sheila, his son Brian, daughter Laura Bustamante, and Brian's wife, Dyanna Aracena.

They said they had come to support the government's position that Jacobson should not be allowed out on bail.

"[Jacobson] was one of those who supplied David Laffer," Sheila Sheffield said, referring to medical workers who contributed to his addiction and the Medford killings. "Because of them, this happened."

Before the bail discussion, Jacobson pleaded not guilty to the indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute painkillers and five counts of distribution.

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