MISSOULA, Mont. -

A former Missoula physician's assistant has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison in a case in which prosecutors alleged she prescribed large amounts of narcotic painkillers to people she knew or believed were addicts or dealers.
    
Kelly R. Etzel of Lolo was sentenced on March 6 by U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula.
    
Etzel was indicted last August on 11 counts of distribution of controlled substances. She pleaded guilty to two counts in December. Prosecutors alleged she prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and hydromorphone to patients at First Choice Clinic without giving proper exams.
    
Etzel's also lost her physician assistant certification.
    
Defense attorney Paul Ryan sought a sentence of home confinement so Etzel could care for her developmentally delayed son and her father, who has terminal cancer.