• New racketeering charges against former medical examiner

    By: Mark Winne

    Updated:

    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A woman told Channel 2's Mark Winne a former medical examiner fed her sister's drug addiction. Now the doctor is facing new charges in two counties.

    The family of Nikki Williams told Winne Dr. Joe Burton wrote prescriptions for powerful drugs she didn't need. 

    Williams committed suicide in September. Her family said she was tortured by her addiction to painkillers like oxycodone and was arrested for DUI drugs the day before she ended her life. 

    "It killed us. All of us. She was the glue," said Williams' sister, Robin Sanders.

    Earlier this month, an investigation uncovered by Winne revealed Burton was one of 44 people arrested as part of a huge metro Atlanta opioid sting involving him

    The family said Nikki Williams was not a part of that sting but was acquainted with Burton.


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    "My sister was a huge part of my life," Sanders said. "Even through her addiction, she was incredible mother."

    Williams was a mother of four.

    Her other sister, who asked we call her "Michelle" and not show her face because she fears retaliation from addicts, said Nikki got most of her illicit drugs through prescriptions from Burton.

    We’re told a federal drug indictment against Burton and others was the culmination of a monthslong investigation by Drug Enforcement Administration, Georgia Drugs and Narcotics, and others.

    He's pleaded not guilty. In Cherokee County, Burton's accused in a racketeering warrant.

    "Dr. Burton was writing prescriptions for people that he wasn’t treating," said Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace.

    There's also a Cobb County RICO warrant.

    "His name’s on the bottle," explained "Michelle."

    "Michelle" told Winne she saw many of the illegitimate prescriptions from Burton herself. Though now she is in recovery, she said Burton had provided her opiate prescriptions, too, for drugs for which she had no legitimate need.

    "Michelle" said she introduced her sister to Burton after meeting him at a local dance club where "Michelle" worked.

    Winne reached out to Burton's lawyer, Wilmer "Buddy" Parker. In a voicemail, he indicated the charges in both Cherokee and Cobb counties concern the same conduct within the scope of the federal case.

    Burton has made bond in both locations
     

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