Thomas Merrill Trial

Trial is underway in a Florida Panhandle doctor's federal drug charge in Pensacola.

Dr. Thomas Merrill is charged with over-prescribing painkillers allegedly linked to at least six deaths. He faces up to life in prison.

Twelve jurors were selected Monday.

A federal grand jury indicted Merrill in August. Merrill was practicing at the Magnolia Medical Clinic in Apalachicola before the Florida Department of Health suspended his license in May 2004.

Merrill had been practicing in Apalachicola since March 1994 and before that worked in Panama City. He has been out of jail on bond awaiting trial.

U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers has already ruled that Merrill's former patients and family members of former patients can testify in the trial. The judge has also allowed evidence regarding several of Merrill's patients, including those who died, that the defense wanted excluded.