A federal judge on Friday sentenced two people who testified at the drug trial of a former Casper doctor to supervised release for their roles in the pill distribution conspiracy.

Judge Alan Johnson handed down the sentences in a Cheyenne courtroom for Shawnna Thacker and Paul Beland, according to court documents filed in the case. Beland pleaded guilty last year to a drug conspiracy charge and two counts of an unlawful use of a communication facility. And Thacker earlier this year pleaded to a single drug conspiracy count. Plea agreements struck with prosecutors required Thacker and Beland to cooperate with the prosecutors' case against Dr. Shakeel Kahn and his brother, Nabeel.

Both Thacker and Beland testified at the doctor's nearly month-long trial and, in May, a jury found him guilty of 21 felonies, including conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances resulting in death and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. Federal sentencing guidelines call for a minimum of 20 years imprisonment on each of those convictions.

Jurors found Nabeel Kahn -- whose name is also spelled Khan in court documents -- guilty of two felony counts: one of drug conspiracy and one of unlawful possession of a firearm. They did not find him criminally responsible in the death of an Arizona woman, Jessica Burch, who in 2015 died of overdose on pills prescribed by the doctor.

On Friday, Johnson ordered Thacker and Beland be credited for time already served and remain under supervised release, which is akin to parole in the state criminal justice system. The judge ordered they both be supervised for three years.

Kahn is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 1.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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