By Ralph Cipriano
She was a former strip club dancer, dark and slender, with waist-length, jet-black hair.
From the witness stand, Kathleen Reeves, 31, told a story about being a young mom who became addicted to prescription painkillers under the care of Dr. William O'Brien 3d.
When the pill doctor ran out of medical reasons to keep treating her, Reeves said, the doctor suggested a business arrangement.
"He said that if I gave him a blow job," she told the jury, "He would continue to prescribe" oxycodone and methadone for her.
"I was so sick, I couldn't function without them," she said about the pills. In the throes of her addiction, "I did things that I would never normally do."
That included providing oral sex to the pill doctor on several occasions.
"I had no choice," she told the jury. " I couldn't get the medication" without a prescription. "I was in too deep."
Did you want to perform oral sex on the doctor, the prosecutor asked.
"No," she said.
Reeves testified that she was suffering from an unknown auto-immune disease that left her with chronic pain when a friend, Joseph Mehl, took her to see Dr. O'Brien at his office on South Broad Street.
Reeves knew Mehl from The Oasis, a gentlemen's club in Northeast Philadelphia where she was a dancer.
Mehl, identified by law enforcement authorities as an associate of the Pagans motorcycle gang, was indicted as a co-conspirator in the pill mill case, and has already pleaded guilty.
The doctor would write Reeves prescriptions for up to 240 pills at a time of 30-milligram oxycodone, and methadone, she testified. After she filled the prescription, Mehl would take half the pills and sell them. Reeves consumed the rest.
So the doctor kept writing prescriptions for Reeves until the last time, in 2015, when the pharmacist told her, "We will not fill this prescription for you," Reeves told the jury, because "this doctor has been arrested."
Without the drugs, Reeves wound up in a detox clinic for two weeks.
"It was awful," she told the jury. Also, "extremely expensive," she said, and sad for her family.
"My kids didn't know where I was going."
At the height of her addiction, Reeves, who would be lucky to weigh 100 pounds, told the jury she was taking 60 milligrams of methadone and eight 30-milligram doses of Oxycodone a day.
But her stay in detox was too short, and she wound up getting addicted to other drugs. It took another $20,000 stay in a rehab facility to break her addiction, she told the jury. At a clinic in Michigan, she underwent a "true medical detox" that involved removing all traces of the drugs from her body.
Are you on any medication right now, the prosecutor asked.
"Absolutely not," she said.
Reeves is not charged in the case. The prosecutor asked if she had anything to gain by her testimony.
No, she said. But she indicated that she had begun a new life. Since she left her drug addiction behind, she testified, she just recently graduated from college.
On cross-examination, Dr. O'Brien, who is representing himself, repeatedly asked Reeves about her interaction with the FBI. But the dancer kept responding with what sounded like a scripted answer.
"I don't remember specifically what we spoke about," she told the pill doctor.
O'Brien asked about documents Reeves had signed as a patient about the risks associated with taking narcotics. Reeves replied that at the time she wasn't paying much attention.
"I don't necessarily read everything that I sign," she said.
O'Brien asked if Mehl had deliberately brought Reeves to his office so he could obtain prescriptions for narcotics. Reeves responded that the doctor was in on the conspiracy.
"Joe Mehl," she said, told her "many times that you knew what was going on."
O'Brien asked about any current medications that she was on.
When her back hurts, she said, she takes Alleve.
O'Brien reviewed medical records that claimed that three times, he gave Reeves acupuncture to relieve her pain.
"It never happened," she insisted. "I hate needles. I would have never let you do that."
Instead, she told the doctor that repeatedly writing down phony acupuncture treatments was part of the scam of running his pill mill.
"I did not get that," she said about the acupuncture. "You did not do that to me."
O'Brien asked Reeves if she ever sent him nude pictures of herself.
"That's not something that I would do," she said.
O'Brien asked if Reeves would be surprised to hear that his former office manager had seen such pictures.
"Objection," said the prosecutor.
"Sustained," said the judge.
Reeves was the second former strip club dancer to testify in two days about providing oral sex to the pill doctor in exchange for written prescriptions.
Earlier, Deanna Lane, 28, told the jury how she was a pregnant heroin addict with tracts on both of her arms when she accepted the doctor's offer to provide oral sex in exchange for drugs.
When court began today, Lane was still on the stand, being cross-examined by O'Brien.
O'Brien asked Lane if some of the men she was having sex with gave her money.
Yes, she said.
O'Brien asked if she was a prostitute.
"I wouldn't call myself a prostitute," she said.
Well, O'Brien said, what would you call somebody who has sex for money?
Objection, said the prosecutor.
Sustained, said the judge.
Undaunted, O'Brien strolled over to a giant easel and wrote "Prostitute" in giant letters and then he underlined it for the jury's benefit.
O'Brien questioned Lane about the mundane details of their trysts. She had claimed he was wearing khaki pants; he said he doesn't own any khaki pants.
She had claimed he wasn't wearing a belt, which struck her as odd; he claimed he owned several belts.
When the exchange got testy, Lane cut to the bottom line.
"I can give you specific details about your private parts, Mr. O'Brien," she warned.
O'Brien the amateur lawyer wisely moved on.
The next witness was Mary Ann Ennis, a mother of eight children. She told the jury how her son Joseph, the third in her brood, was taking too many drugs under Dr. O'Brien's care, and got into a couple of accidents.
Joseph Ennis of Levittown, who originally went to see Dr. O'Brien after he hurt his back, was found dead in December 2013. Days earlier, according to the federal indictment, O'Brien had written Ennis prescriptions for oxycodone, methadone and cyclobenzaprine "for no legitimate medical purpose."
Ennis's mother is suing the doctor for malpractice.
Next to testify was Matthew Shaw, Ennis's brother-in-law, who broke into Ennis's house and found him dead. Shaw told the jury how he found Ennis "face-down" in his bedroom.
"He was cold," Shaw said. He called 911, but it was already too late.
On cross, O'Brien asked Shaw if he ever drank beer with Ennis.
Yes, he said.
Did you know that Ennis also smoked marijuana, the doctor asked.
Yes, Shaw said.
I'm done with my cross-examination, the doctor told the judge.