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California doctor ordered to trial in 3 drug deaths

March 16, 2012: Dr Hsiu Ying "Lisa" Tseng listens in court during her arraignment, in Los Angeles.AP

A doctor accused of prescribing pain killers to three young men who died was ordered Tuesday to stand trial for second degree murder in the overdose deaths.

The decision by Superior Court Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria came after a three-week preliminary hearing.

Dr. Hsui-Ying "Lisa" Tseng is one of only a handful of doctors nationwide to be charged with murder related to prescription drugs.

Tseng was portrayed at a preliminary hearing as the go-to doctor for people seeking drugs. Young men told of coming to Tseng after using up prescriptions from other physicians. A few testified under grants of immunity.

There was testimony about a total of 12 of Tseng's patients who died of drug overdoses. Only three deaths were charged by prosecutors as solely caused by her prescriptions.

Some patients acknowledged using illegal drugs such as heroin which they did not get from Tseng.

She was charged with prescribing Xanax, oxycodone, methadone, Soma, and other drugs.

Authorities allege that Tseng, who with husband operated a storefront medical clinic in suburban Rowland Heights, wrote more than 27,000 prescriptions over a three-year period.

She has pleaded not guilty to 24 felony counts and could face 45 years to life in prison if convicted on all charges.