Fentanyl Tech Gets 30 Years
Kristen Parker's prison sentence exceeds earlier plea deal.
Describing her crimes as "incomprehensible and unconscionable," a federal judge in Denver sentenced former surgical tech Kristen Diane Parker to 30 years in prison Wednesday for stealing and tampering with fentanyl syringes and infecting at least 18 patients with hepatitis C.
While Ms. Parker, 27, owned up to her actions during the sentencing hearing — "I won't sugarcoat it. I was a drug addict," she said — U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn expressed indignation that Ms. Parker claimed she didn't know she was infected at the time of the fentanyl thefts, especially since employment records at 1 of the 2 Colorado surgical facilities at which she worked showed otherwise.
Judge Blackburn's sentence exceeded the standard sentencing guidelines of 20 to 25 years for her multiple charges of tampering with a consumer product and obtaining a controlled substance by deceit or subterfuge. Last month he rejected as too lenient a September plea agreement between Ms. Parker and prosecutors that would have imprisoned her for 20 years.
Ms. Parker's unwitting victims and their families attended the hearing and testified to the hardships they've since faced. Some blamed facilities that employed her as well. "We struggled to understand how this could possibly happen at a major hospital," said Mike Kraft, whose son was infected with hepatitis C during surgery. "This incurable disease has changed his life and all our lives forever."