Former Essentia nurse jailed after being kicked out of offender programJill Karkoska is in the St. Louis County Jail after appearing Wednesday in State District Court for allegedly violating the terms of her probation from a drug sales conviction.
Because nurse practitioner Jill Renee Karkoska had no prior criminal record, had sought treatment and was deemed amenable to probation, she escaped an 86-month guideline prison sentence after illegally providing 11,807 pain pills to nine people.
But Karkoska is in the St. Louis County Jail after appearing Wednesday in State District Court for allegedly violating the terms of her probation.
The 27-year-old Gilbert woman had been ordered to complete the in-patient Duluth Bethel Female Offender Program, but her Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer filed a notice with the court Wednesday stating that Karkoska has been terminated from the program because of “lack of effort, dishonesty and disruptiveness to the program.”
Karkoska has taken her fate out of her own hands and once again placed it in the hands of the court. Her probation officer is recommending to the court that Karkoska serve her prison sentence.
Karkoska denies violating her probation. A probation violation hearing will be held on May 24.
The former nurse pleaded guilty in January to the first-degree sale of controlled substances Percocet, Oxycodone, Lortab and Tramadol. She had to surrender her nursing license and her drug enforcement administration license and lost her career. But she didn’t have to go to prison.
After reaching a plea agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, Karkoska had her presumed prison sentence stayed for five years of supervised probation. As conditions of her probation, she was ordered to abstain from the use of alcohol and nonprescribed drugs, submit to random testing, pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service for the less fortunate, spend 60 days in the Bethel Female Offender Program, 30 days of aftercare and wear an electronic monitor for 90 days at her own expense.
St. Louis County prosecutor Rebekka Stumme unsuccessfully argued to Judge Mark Munger at sentencing that Karkoska’s probation should include a year in the St. Louis County Jail. Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued against jail time saying that Karkoska wasn’t motivated by economic gain. He said her crime was fueled by her own drug addiction and she sought treatment on her own. He said she cooperated with the investigation and the courts from the time the case was brought to light. He said she completed a treatment program at Teen Challenge, and she was raising a toddler. Jail was not the place for her, he said.
The father of Karkoska’s son, Christopher Lee Dian, 29, of St. Paul is also charged with aiding and abetting the sale of controlled substance for his involvement in the case. Dian’s case hasn’t been resolved and he’s scheduled to be in court on June 7.
The cases against the pair were developed after a year-long investigation by Duluth police and the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.
At her plea hearing, Karkoska said that she was chemically dependent on pain pills. She wrote prescriptions for others and in return they would give her some of the pills. Legally, the exchange constituted a sale, hence the charge.
An Essentia spokeswoman said Karkoska worked for the health system for about nine months before leaving.