Dr. Keith Morris

A Franklin County physician who was indicted last fall on charges of illegally prescribing prescription drugs died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday morning, minutes from when he was scheduled to enter a guilty plea in federal court.

Authorities said Dr. Keith Dale Morris, 54, was found dead outside his home shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday. He had been scheduled to enter a guilty plea at 10:15 a.m. in federal court.

A memorial visitation for Dr. Morris will be held from 3-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, at Miller Funeral Home, Washington.

Morris was indicted in October 2011 with four felony counts of distribution of medications “outside the usual course of professional practice,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office. He was charged in two counts with distribution of amphetamine salts and oxycodone, both Schedule II controlled substance drugs, and one count each of distribution of hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, and alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance.

Morris, who practiced in Franklin and St. Louis counties, allegedly distributed the drugs, “without a legitimate medical purpose,” between April 2008 and July 2010, according to the federal indictment.

According to a release from the sheriff’s office, Wednesday morning Morris told his wife that he was going to meet with his attorney. As he was leaving, he met his sister-in-law who was going to the home. Later, the sister-in-law came out with Morris’ wife and they saw his vehicle parked in the driveway and began searching for him.

As they were searching they heard a gunshot, then found Morris on the ground approximately 50 yards from the residence. He had suffered a fatal gunshot wound, the sheriff’s office reported. A .40 caliber handgun was found near the body.

Preliminary investigation indicated that the wound was self inflicted, the sheriff’s office reported.

According to reports, Morris was facing between five and nine years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.