Ark. doc convicted in bombing resentenced to life

AP News
Posted: May 01, 2013 5:56 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A resentencing proceeding Wednesday for a former doctor convicted in the bombing of the leader of the Arkansas Medical Board left him with his original life sentence but afforded his lawyer a chance to again claim his client is innocent.

Randeep Mann, 54, was convicted in 2010 of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and other charges following the February 2009 bombing of Dr. Trent Pierce outside his West Memphis home.

Pierce was nearly killed and suffered numerous injuries. He was blinded in one eye, left partially deaf and his face is badly scarred after a bomb duct taped to a spare tire exploded in his driveway.

Pierce was Medical Board chairman when the panel revoked Mann's license to prescribe narcotics for allegedly overprescribing pain medication to numerous patients, some of whom died.

Mann, who was a licensed firearms dealer and was also convicted of illegally possessing almost 100 grenades, wasn't tied by forensic evidence to the bombing.

"Dr. Mann continues to assert his innocence," Blake Hendrix, one of Mann's attorneys, told U.S. District Judge Brian Miller.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis bounced part of Mann's sentence on technical grounds, and both sides agreed Wednesday that the proceeding would bring no change to his sentence of life in prison.

After the hearing, Hendrix said he is still working to have Mann's convictions reversed.

"We're still on track on the direct appeals and looking at the United States Supreme Court right now," Hendrix said.

U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Thyer said in a prepared statement that he hoped the proceeding has put the case to rest.

"Hopefully, the life sentence handed down today will mark the end of this case and bring closure to some very difficult times for Dr. Pierce and his family," Thyer said.

Mann was not in court, having asked to stay at a federal prison medical unit in Springfield, Mo., where Hendrix said Mann is being treated for back trouble and other medical problems.

Pierce and his wife were in the gallery. Miller noted that Pierce testified at Mann's trial and offered to allow him to take the stand again Wednesday.

"I will decline, thank you," Pierce said. A U.S. marshal led Pierce to a back door after the proceeding and he didn't comment to reporters.

Mann's wife, Sangeeta "Sue" Mann, 51, was tried with her husband and was convicted of hiding documents that were pertinent to the case. She is serving a one-year sentence.

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Miller originally sentenced Mann to life plus 30 years on two counts related to the bombing, 10 years each on three weapons counts, to be served concurrently. Those charges included possessing an unregistered machine gun and possessing the grenades, which were buried near Mann's home.

Mann was convicted on two obstruction counts and sentenced to concurrent five-year sentences for each. Those convictions and sentences were upheld and were not part of Wednesday's proceeding.

The appeals court ruled that one of the weapons counts was duplicative, so one of the 10-year sentences was dropped. Mann had to be resentenced on the weapons of mass destruction counts and the other weapons convictions because improper sentencing enhancements were applied at his original sentencing.

Ultimately, the time Mann will have to serve in prison won't be affected.

Mann's restitution also remained unchanged. Hendrix said Mann has paid between $40,000 and $50,000, though Mann owes more than $1 million to Pierce and three insurance companies. Pierce is to get about $500,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gordon noted that the government has filed liens against property Mann owns.