Former Bitterroot Valley physician Chris Christensen was able to raise the $20,000 necessary to post bail after being convicted of two counts of negligent homicide, and is free pending appeal of his 10 year prison sentence to the Montana Supreme Court.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright and his staff spent thousands of hours preparing the case against Christensen, who was accused over overprescribing pain medication that resulted in two overdose deaths.

“The defendant, who was a physician practicing in Ravalli County for a number of years and we convicted him of two counts of negligent homicide through prescriptions related to two deaths, and he was convicted of endangering nine other patients by distributing those narcotics outside the scope of his medical practice,” said Fulbright. “That was the culmination of a very long, multi-year, multi-agency investigation. The trial was last fall and he was sentenced in January to a 20 year prison term with 10 years suspended, and the judge granted their motion to stay that sentence pending his appeal.”

Fulbright said Christensen’s appeal could take up to two years.

“We just have to be patient at this point,” he said. “It’s going to be a while before the process of justice moves forward here.”

Fulbright had recommended a 50 year prison term without the possibility of parole.