Bail was set on Wednesday for a former doctor who recently had charges of murder reduced to manslaughter related to five people’s deaths including residents of Port Washington and Floral Park, according to officials.
Acting state Supreme Court Justice Francis Ricigliano set bail for George Blatti, 76, at $1 million cash, a $5 million insurance company bond or a $5 million surety bond, according to officials. The surety bond would be partially secured at 10 percent, officials said.
Blatti, who was indicted last year, allegedly prescribed five individuals fatal amounts of opioids and other medications, resulting in their deaths.
Last week, Ricigliano reduced the five murder charges against George Blatti to manslaughter, according to court documents.
Prosecutors had previously alleged that Blatti was a “serial killer” and the Nassau County District Attorney’s office said Blatti’s 2021 indictment was believed to be the first time a doctor in New York was charged with second-degree murder under a theory that a defendant acting with depraved indifference to human life.
Ricigliano, last week, said in his ruling that the allegations “support a charge of reckless homicide.”
Blatti’s attorney Nancy Bartling told Newsday that the significance of Ricigliano’s ruling will allow for a bail application to be submitted so Blatti can be released from jail as he awaits trial.
“It’s significant because the judge found that our position was correct, that there was never depraved indifference in this matter,” Bartling told Newsday.
Blatti, 76, pleaded not guilty last year to five counts of second-degree murder and 11 counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree, the results of a joint investigation between the district attorney’s office, the Nassau County Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
One of the patients who died under his care was Diane Woodring, 53, from Port Washington, who died on Sept. 11, 2018, of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, alprazolam, mirtazapine and valproic acid, all prescribed by Blatti, officials said.
The DA’s office said that over a span of four years and one month, she was prescribed over 18,000 pills in 153 prescriptions, including over 9,300 30-milligram pills of oxycodone.
Officials said Sean Quigley, 31, a volunteer firefighter from Floral Park, who had struggled with opioid abuse dating back to at least 2008, also died under Blatti’s care. Prosecutors alleged that Blatti was aware of Quigley’s ill health and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but prescribed the opioids anyway.
The district attorney’s office said that over a period of three years and four months, Blatti prescribed Quigley over 10,600 pills across 79 prescriptions, with over 7,000 of those pills being oxycodone.
Blatti previously faced up to 25 years to life, if he was convicted of the murder charges. According to Newsday, Ricigliano will listen to arguments about whether Blatti should be released from jail as he awaits his trial. Blatti is allegedly suffering from “multiple medical ailments,” according to Newsday.
A general practitioner first licensed to practice medicine in 1976 who surrendered his medical license in June 2019, Blatti had “no specialized training or accreditation in pain management,” prosecutors said.
“For a time, he maintained a makeshift office in a Franklin Square storefront that was formerly a Radio Shack, with a Radio Shack sign and merchandise racks on the walls,” the office.
The original indictment from 2019 alleged that Blatti met customers at his Franklin Square office throughout that year, and after he lost access to that space, saw patients in his car, prescribing medications with no examination from the parking lots of the Rockville Centre hotel where he lived and a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
Blatti is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 14, officials said.