Feds say search warrants turned up new evidence in Shawna Gunter case

BALTIMORE - Shawna Gunter will have to spend at least 48 more hours in a blue prison jumpsuit.  At a detention hearing held in federal court Monday, a judge postponed her decision on whether to hold the 36-year-old woman until trial.

Gunter was indicted Friday on four counts related to a case in Queen Anne's County.  The indictment claims Gunter posed as a physician's assistant at two clinics on the Eastern Shore.  Prosecutors Monday claimed Gunter saw as many as 200 patients, many of them children, and wrote as many as 400 prescriptions, even though she didn't have the training or authority to do so.

In Monday's hearing, prosecutor Tamera Fine called Gunter a flight risk and a danger to the community, requesting that Gunter be held behind bars until trial.  Gunter's attorney says she's not accused of a violent crime and has not attempted to flee the area in recent months even with a local case and this looming federal case over her head.

Fine told the judge that search warrants executed since Gunter's arrest on Friday turned up new information in the case.  She detailed how investigators found piles of medical files inside Gunter's home.  Those files, she claims, actually belong to Dr. Jerrilyn Jutton, who previously employed Gunter until she claimed the then surgical assistant forged a check to herself from the practice's account.  

A criminal case on that matter is open in Anne Arundel County.  Jutton did not respond to a request for comment late Monday.

But ultimately the decision to continue the detention hearing was based on a text message prosecutors claim Gunter sent to the girlfriend of her soon-to-be ex-husband, Jeff Gunter.  It related to the custody of the couple's children and said "If I can't have them, no one will."  Gunter's attorney questioned whether investigators had firm confirmation that text was actually sent from Shawna's phone.

The feds claim Gunter was prescribing medicine to two of her children and herself, using prescription pads from the clinics she previously worked in.  And they say Gunter has launched a new career in the legal field.

Gunter's detention hearing will now be held Wednesday morning in federal court in Baltimore.



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