Rhonda Ison, 53, Moores Hill, was sentenced by Ripley County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sharp Nov. 20 for actions related to the theft of 190 prescription pain pills while working as the director of nursing at Manderley Healthcare, Osgood. Prior to sentencing, Ison pleaded guilty to failure to make, keep or furnish records of the dispensing and/or destruction of a controlled substance, a Level 6 felony; and theft, a Class A misdemeanor, where she faced a sentencing range of six months to 2.5 years, according to a Ripley County Prosecutor’s Office press release.

During the sentencing hearing, Kyle Negangard of Manderley Healthcare testified about the details of Ison’s crimes and the significant negative impact they have had on his family’s business. Negangard explained that he and his family had received information from other nurses in the facility who believed Ison was stealing pills rather than following proper pill destruction procedures. As a result, the facility promptly installed a camera in the medicine room to observe whether proper procedure was being followed. Within hours of the camera being installed, Ison was captured on video taking 190 prescription pain pills, Hydrocodone and Oxycontin, and falsifying paperwork that indicated she had destroyed them pursuant to proper procedure. The pills left for destruction belonged to patients who had recently passed away prior to those pills being distributed.

Negangard testified that Ison’s crimes were extremely hurtful to his family because they trusted her as their lead nurse. Immediately upon discovering what Ison had done, Negangard contacted the police and the state licensing board. The Negangard family knew reporting these crimes would leave them susceptible to potential fines and negative effects of their business, but they wanted to do the right thing and make sure Ison would be prevented from having the opportunity to victimize anyone else. Negangard stated that Ison’s actions have caused the facility to have to work extremely hard to regain the trust of the nurses, residents and residents’ families that Manderley Healthcare has earned over the past five decades as a healthcare provider in the community.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Tucker argued that Ison’s theft of such a high number of pills, the significant impact her crimes have had on the victim, her violation of trust not only to her employer but to the facility’s residents and the residents’ families and her lack of remorse for her actions justified an aggravated sentence. Ison’s attorney requested that the court take into consideration that she has no prior criminal history and a dependent child at home. The court agreed with the state and sentenced Ison to two years in jail with six months suspended to probation while emphasizing that, based on Ison’s conduct, she should never be put in a position of trust with patients ever again.

Prosecuting attorney Ric Hertel wanted to complement Osgood Police Department officers for their investigation and Manderley Healthcare officials for their diligence in reporting Ison’s crimes and their cooperation throughout the pendency of the case. He stated, “Ison’s conduct and violation of trust negatively impacted some of our community’s most vulnerable, those who require the care and support facilities like Manderley Healthcare provide. Her conduct warrants the aggravated sentence she received.”

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