An Ogden pediatrician convicted of giving a woman a deadly dose of narcotics has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the woman's children.
Dr. Sherman Johnson, who admitted to causing the death of 33-year-old Donna Jones by giving her an overdose of the painkiller Demerol, has agreed to pay the two children $60,000 over the next three years.Tina Jones Fronk, who is now in her 20s, and Christopher Jones, who is in his teens, sued Johnson after his 1992 conviction for manslaughter.
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $12,500. The state's Physicians Licensing Board also revoked his license for up to five years.
Second District Judge Michael Glasmann released details of the settlement, reached last month, after the Standard-Examiner made a formal request.
Jones met Johnson in Germany when she was 20 years old. After both returned to Utah, she renewed the friendship. Johnson claimed she told him she was dying of ovarian cancer that a coven of gay doctors and witches had injected into her body.
After paying for the woman's drugs for some time, Johnson turned to her Mormon ward in Sunset for help. Members not only paid a $48,000 drug bill but also provided care and transportation for Jones and her children and helped when the woman suffered bouts of bizarre behavior Johnson attributed to multiple personality disorder and ritualistic Satanic abuse as a child.
Jones died in October 1989 after Johnson went to the woman's home and administered a lethal dose of Demerol. He signed her death certificate, listing the cause of death as ovarian cancer.
The bizarre story would have gone unnoticed had not a surgical nurse who lived in Johnson's LDS ward gone to the police. Officials exhumed her body and found it riddled with needle-puncture marks and bruises indicating the woman was a drug addict of remarkable proportions.
An autopsy failed to find any cancer.
Police instigated a murder investigation that ultimately showed Jones died within 30 minutes of the final drug injection. Evidence showed - and Johnson finally admitted - that he illegally prescribed and often helped ad-min-is-ter 386,000 milligrams of Demerol to Jones over a six-month period.
Johnson, however, said only that he was naively attempting to help someone he believed was suffering.
Second District Judge Douglas Cornaby portrayed Jones as a manipulator who tried to hurt those who helped her and refused to impose any prison time for the convicted felon. Johnson could have served up to 15 years for the crime.
Instead, Cornaby imposed probation and a 90-day jail sentence. He allowed Johnson to go home evenings and weekends after 30 days.
Johnson has twice failed in his attempts to have his license to practice medicine reinstated. Licensing officials have expressed skepticism about Johnson's account of his relationship with and treatment of Jones.
He can petition the licensing board every year until the five years is up.