Tetterton pleads guilty

Published 1:03 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Heather H. Tetterton will serve two years supervised probation after entering guilty pleas to five felony charges in Beaufort County Superior Court on Tuesday.

Tetterton, 40, a former pharmacist at Tayloe’s Hospital Pharmacy, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession with intent to sell and deliver hydrocodone (a Schedule III controlled substance), one felony count of possession of hydrocodone and three counts of felony embezzlement of a controlled substance by an employee of a registered pharmacy.

Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons Jr., who found mitigating circumstances, combined the five guilty pleas into two judgments. In each judgment, Tetterton was sentenced to three to four months, for a combined six to eight months because the sentences were consecutive. The sentences were suspended, and the two years supervised probation imposed. Her probation includes 50 hours of community service and continued treatment for alcoholism.

Tetterton told the court she regrets her actions and putting her children and parents through such an ordeal. Tetterton admitted stealing the drug for her boyfriend, who was not identified. Her lawyers said Tetterton’s crimes stemmed from severe alcoholism.

Imelda Pate, an assistant district attorney from Lenoir County, handled the case for the state.

Tom Anglim, chief assistant district attorney for the Second Prosecutorial District, which includes Beaufort County, said there is an ongoing federal investigation related to the Tetterton case.

Anglim said state law mandates supervised probation for Tetterton because she had no prior criminal history.

Tetterton had been scheduled to appear in District Court on Thursday, but her case was brought to Superior Court by way of a bill of information, Anglim explained.

A bill of information is a formal written accusation made by a prosecuting attorney that charges a named person with a specific crime. A bill of information can be used instead of an indictment by a grand jury. Under a bill of information, a defendant usually consents to the finding of probable cause. A bill of information occurs in a case in which there is a plea agreement, and the defendant signs the bill of information so the case can be resolved quickly.

Tetterton was arrested Sept. 24, 2010, and charged with two felony counts of embezzlement of a controlled substance by employee, two felony counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Tetterton, who lived at 401 Harvey Road, Washington, at the time she was arrested, was released from custody after a bondsman posted a $14,000 secured bond.

Tetterton’s arrest stemmed from investigators receiving complaints that Tetterton, a former pharmacist at Tayloe’s Hospital Pharmacy, was stealing prescription pain pills and testosterone, an anabolic steroid, from the pharmacy during her employment there.

Investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy worked together in establishing evidence to substantiate the complaint.

The arrest warrants, issued by Magistrate David A. Curtis, specifically accused Tetterton of stealing 10 dosage units of hydrocodone and one vial (2,000 mg/10 ml) of testosterone cypionate while working at the pharmacy.

The N.C. Board of Pharmacy, in an order issued Sept. 21, 2010, suspended Tetterton’s pharmacist’s license, according to the board’s website.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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