Shelton’s trial on 52 prescription fraud charges postponed due to investigation of co-defendant

January Paige Shelton (from Facebook)

January Paige Shelton (from Facebook)

The trial of a Charlotte woman charged with calling in unauthorized prescriptions for narcotics was postponed Wednesday because her co-defendant is under investigation for her husband’s death. 35-year-old January Paige Shelton was scheduled to stand trial on 52 counts of obtaining drugs by fraud, but District Attorney-elect Ray Crouch asked a judge to delay that trial because co-defendant Mendy Powell Neal is the subject of a homicide investigation. On Tuesday, Crouch asked for a delay in Neal’s trial on nine prescription fraud charges because of the ongoing investigation into the death of her husband, 50-year-old Matthew Neal, in a July 11, 2012, fire that destroyed the couple’s Loggins Road home. In asking for the delay for Shelton in Dickson County Circuit Court Wednesday, Crouch only said that co-defendant Neal is the subject of the investigation that is expected to go to the grand jury soon. Following the appearance, Crouch would not comment on if or how Shelton is connected to the homicide investigation. During a June 2013 preliminary hearing, Dickson Police Department Det. Brian Beasley testified Shelton worked as a medical assistant at Dickson Medical Associates from December 2001 until she was terminated in January 2013 after records turned up a discrepancy in prescriptions for various narcotics, including painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers and other medications. Beasley said Shelton admitted to calling in unauthorized prescriptions to area pharmacies in her name, her mother’s name and the name of friends, including Shelton, over a period of a year. Following the June hearing, Shelton was bound over to the grand jury on 90 counts of obtaining drugs by fraud. The grand jury ended up indicting Shelton on 52 counts last August. Shelton did not speak during her brief appearance in court Wednesday with defense attorney Mike Flanagan. Dickson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burch, whose 34-year tenure on the bench ends Friday, scheduled Shelton for the Sept. 8 appearance docket of Judge Larry Wallace for a new trial date to be set at that time. Crouch declined to comment on any possible connection between the charges against Shelton and the investigation into Matthew Neal’s death and said no plea offer has been extended to Shelton.