A psychologist accused of killing his wife and staging her death as a suicide can start practicing medicine again in less than four months, the Nevada Board of Psychological Examiners decided Friday.
Suspected of abusing drugs and obtaining prescription drugs from patients, Gregory “Brent” Dennis, who prosecutors say poisoned attorney Susan Winters inside their Henderson home, also must undergo up to seven years of drug treatment, the seven-member panel ruled as they signed a settlement agreement that made no mention of the murder charge.
“It’s clear that the board members do not know what Brent Dennis was arrested for,” Keith Williams, a lawyer for the Winters family, told a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter after the meeting. “We’re confident that they did not know what they were voting on today.”
Henderson police arrested Dennis on the murder charge in February.
Without mentioning that Winters’ January 2015 death had been ruled a suicide for more than a year before Dennis’ arrest or delving into the extent of his drug habit, the agreement cited February media reports that stated Dennis “has a substance abuse problem and has been purchasing and/or obtaining controlled substances from a known drug dealer as well as his patients.”
The Review-Journal reported a series of stories that detailed allegations of the lengths to which authorities believe he went to poison Winters and cover up the slaying.
Under the agreement, Dennis did not admit to the allegations of drug abuse, but acknowledged that the board could find evidence that the allegations are true.
“The only thing you’re looking at is the alleged facts here, and the alleged facts here are being resolved by this agreement,” said the board’s attorney Deputy Attorney General Sarah Bradley. “If something happens with a different matter, then there may be a new complaint filed, and it would be just a new matter.”
No one on the board discussed the murder charge during the more than 30 minutes in which they reviewed the agreement. Dennis, who ran a Boulder City mental health clinic before his license was suspended in February, faces a preliminary hearing on the murder charge next month.
Henderson police alleged that Dennis lied to police about his wife’s death and had a financial motive to kill her.
Dennis stood to inherit roughly $2 million, including a $1 million life insurance policy, upon his wife’s death and was dealing with a cocaine addiction that was draining his finances, according to an arrest report.
Since his arrest, Dennis has undergone extensive drug counseling, according to his attorney Richard Schonfeld.
Dennis passed four random drug tests, attended more than 30 classes related to chemical dependency, along with 95 narcotics anonymous classes. He also entered an aftercare program and, in anticipation of the agreement being signed, made an appointment for a forensic evaluation scheduled for Tuesday, according to his lawyer.
“We believe that Dr. Dennis has demonstrated that he will use all effort possible to alleviate that concern and continue to engage in his therapy,” Schonfeld said.
Family members of Winters who attended the board meeting Friday said they were “sorely upset” at the outcome.
“That board is a farce,” her mother, Avis Winters, said.
Williams, the family attorney, added: “It seems like Brent is getting every break. We’re all extremely frustrated by it.”
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Gregory “Brent” Dennis, a suspended psychologist accused of killing his wife, Susan Winters, will be eligible to re-open his practice in November, according to an agreement he signed Friday with the state’s Board of Psychological Examiners. The board suspended Dennis on allegations of drug abuse, not a murder charge he is facing.
“It’s not really our job to try other matters, our job is to proceed with what we know and what we can substantiate right now,” the board’s attorney Sarah Bradley said. “And once we have more information in the future, we will make decisions we think are appropriate then.”