By Betty Lawrence
Mercer County Common Pleas Court has set an Aug. 10 trial date to hear the state's case against Celina physician Dr. Thomas Santanello on charges of drug law violations and fraud.
The trial date was set during a pretrial scheduling conference Friday afternoon at the local court. The trial is scheduled to be held in a Mercer County court room at the courthouse.
Another pretrial scheduling conference also was set for July 16 at 10 a.m. in the local court room.
Mercer County Prosecuting attorney Andy Hinders and Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox met with Santanello's attorneys, Ralph Buss and Mark Kaiser, before visiting Judge Jeffrey M. Welbaum. Defendant Santanello also was present.
Sitting Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Jeffery Ingraham has recused himself from the case. Santanello, 51, of Southmoor Shores, St. Marys, pleaded not guilty in September 2002 to 214 felony charges, ranging from drug law violations and Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation fraud to over prescription of narcotic substances. The charges are second through fifth degree felonies.
Santanello is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, specializing in pain management, sports medicine, neurological and spinal disorders. He has not practiced medicine since closure of his 1107 N. Main Street office in early 2001.
Though not practicing, he still holds a medical license from the state of Ohio. It is unlikely the license would be revoked unless Santanello is convicted.