Dr. Narendra Nagareddy, the Clayton County psychiatrist already facing murder charges in his patients' overdose deaths, was in court Wednesday to face a new indictment.
Nagareddy is now being accused of killing six patients who died of overdoses between 2011 and 2015. In the 71-count indictment issued last month, Nagareddy is also being charged with sexual assault by a psychotherapist against a patient, as well as dozens of counts of writing prescriptions that were not legal.
Nagareddy was originally charged last year in a 62-count indictment that included three murder charges. The new indictment replaces the 2016 charges.
The psychiatrist, whose license to practice in Georgia is currently suspended, entered a not guilty plea to the new charges during an arraignment hearing at Clayton County Superior Court.
The patients overdosed after Nagareddy provided them with highly-addictive medications that were outside the scope of his practice, according to the charges.
In addition to causing the deaths of Audrey Austin, David Robinson,and Cheryl Pennington -- the patients included in the original indictment -- Nagareddy is now also accused of murder in the deaths of Paul Pennington, Richard Moore and Lauren McCollum.
"He's absolutely innocent and you'll hear expert testimony at trial that the prescription of the medications that he was prescribing is within his medical and psychiatric practice and expertise," said David Wolfe, one of the attorneys representing Nagareddy.
Wolfe said the doctor's defense team went to great lengths to challenge the contents and defects of the 2016 indictment. "Rather than allow the court to rule on our motions to dismiss or to quash the indictment, the state educated themselves with our critique and then dismissed the original indictment and re-indicted," Wolfe said.
In doing so, Wolfe said, the prosecution acknowledged the defects in the original charges, he said.
The doctor is out on bond while he awaits trial, Wolfe said.
When Nagareddy was arrested last year, authorities said three dozen of his patients had died while he was prescribing them controlled substances.
In previous coverage, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that law enforcement, pharmacists, other doctors, state regulators and addiction counselors had known for years before his arrest that Nagareddy had become a reliable source of prescriptions for drug addicts.