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Jail Urged for Neurosurgeon in Wife's Death

April 12, 1986|United Press International

LOS ANGELES — Prosecutors have recommended a county jail sentence for a neurosurgeon who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the drug overdose death of his addict-wife, according to court documents.

"County jail time as a condition of probation is required for (Dr.) Stephen Levine to impress upon him the fact that such calculated and premeditated actions (by a physician) . . . will not be tolerated by our society," Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Dawson said in a pre-sentencing report filed recently with Superior Court Judge Robert Fainer.

Levine, 42, was initially charged with murder in the May, 1984, death of his wife, Myrna Levine, 32. She died in the couple's Tarzana home from an overdose of Demerol, a pain-killing narcotic.

But the physician was allowed to plead guilty last month to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter and five charges of illegally prescribing drugs. In a plea bargain, he was guaranteed that he will not be sentenced to state prison.

Levine, however, can be sent to county jail for up to one year as a condition of being placed on probation when Fainer sentences him April 25.

His brother, Dr. David L. Levine, 43, a Studio City orthopedic surgeon, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact for helping his brother cover up the cause of death. He could also be sent to county jail for up to six months.

Prosecutor Dawson said Stephen Levine issued 227 Demerol prescriptions, made out to a fictitious patient, to his wife during the last 14 months of her life.

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