VISTA (CNS) - Testimony began Monday in the preliminary hearing for a man accused of going beyond advocating dietary changes and using intravenous treatments on "patients" he housed at his avocado ranch in Valley Center.
Robert Oldham Young, 62, is charged with practicing medicine without a license and other counts. His preliminary hearing is expected to last through the week in the courtroom of Vista Judge Timothy Casserly.
Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas alleged at a hearing earlier this year that Young sold treatment to people who were terminally ill, knowing it wouldn't be effective.
Twelve victims are named in a criminal complaint, including six who died, Darvas said. One person paid Young $120,000 for treatment, the prosecutor said.
Defense attorney Paul Pfingst said that Young has a doctorate and people who come to him for treatment are well aware that he's not a medical doctor.
In cases where patients needed to be injected with needles, Young hired licensed doctors and nurses to perform those tasks, Pfingst said.
Following the preliminary hearing, the judge will determine whether enough evidence was presented for the defendant to stand trial on 18 felony charges.