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Doctor's plea averts trial in attempted murder case

DAYTON - A Lima, Ohio, doctor accused of giving his ex-girlfriend prescription drugs to cause a miscarriage pleaded guilty yesterday to reduced charges.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Dr. Maynard Muntzing II pleaded guilty to one count of attempted felonious assault and two counts of contaminating a substance for human consumption.

Under the deal, Muntzing faces five years in prison. He agreed to give up his medical license and not apply to practice medicine in Ohio.

Muntzing had been charged with four counts of attempted aggravated murder under a 1996 Ohio law that lets prosecutors seek a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if a defendant is suspected of trying to terminate a viable pregnancy.

Judge Barbara Gorman accepted the plea agreement in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and scheduled sentencing for Oct. 24.

Muntzing was accused of spiking the drinks of Michelle Baker, of Huber Heights, with Cytotec, a stomach treatment drug that can trigger miscarriages.

Ms. Baker said she became pregnant with Muntzing's child in May, 2000. She later miscarried. The Montgomery County coroner's office said the cause of the miscarriage could not be determined.

Assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor Kim Melnick said she is satisfied with the plea agreement because it leaves no doubt about how Muntzing behaved.

Muntzing's attorney, Tony Communale, said the 35-year-old Muntzing, who is married, is a “very decent and caring human being.”

Muntzing was arrested August, 2000, after police said they observed him, via a pinhole video camera, tamper with Ms. Baker's drink in her kitchen.

Huber Heights police Detective Jeff Colvin said he saw Muntzing reach into his pocket, pull out a small bottle and pour the contents into one of two cups with ice. Mr. Colvin said he and another detective entered the kitchen from the garage and arrested Muntzing.

Muntzing, a 1995 graduate of Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine, was a medical resident in Dayton, where he concentrated on head and neck surgery. He opened an ear, nose, and throat practice in Lima last year.

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