DA: Tenn. victims shot after drugs handed over

AP News
Posted: May 24, 2013 4:03 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former police officer, accused of killing two people during a robbery at an east Tennessee pharmacy, gunned down his victims after they complied with his demands for painkillers, a prosecutor said Friday.

The victims had just given Jason Bryan Holt several bottles of oxycodone when he began the killing at the Down Home Pharmacy in the community of Bean Station, said Grainger County District Attorney Jimmy Dunn.

"There was no confrontation," Dunn said. "He just shot them."

Holt, a 37-year-old former Bean Station police officer, walked into the pharmacy around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday armed with a 22-caliber revolver and wearing gloves and a hoodie pulled up over his face, the prosecutor said. He ordered everyone in the shop to get behind the counter, Dunn said, and then demanded drugs.

The prosecutor said there is no indication why he shot them after receiving several bottles containing 100 tablets of oxycodone.

Pharmacy owner Stephen Lovell and Richard Sommerville, a customer in the shop, were killed. Two employees, Alexia Wilson and Janet Clift, were both wounded. They are being treated at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The ages of the victims were not immediately available.

Holt was captured minutes after the robbery, within about 100 yards from the pharmacy, Dunn said.

"That's something that the community can be proud of, out of all this senseless tragedy," the prosecutor said. Bean Station has a population of about 3,000 people.

Holt has been charged with two counts of premeditated first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery. He is being held in jail currently with no bond and an arraignment is set for May 30. No attorney was listed in his files.

Holt, Dunn said, had not served as a police officer since at least 2006. He worked at the Grainger County Sheriff's Department after leaving Bean Station police.

Officials with the Grainger County Sheriff's Department did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Bean Station Police officials said they were in the process of pulling Holt's personnel files so they could provide the media with information about his career within the department.

Court records show that Holt has had other brushes with the law. In 2006 he pleaded guilty to burglary and theft of $1,000 to $10,000.