A doctor convicted in a bombing that nearly killed the Arkansas Medical Board's chief was sentenced to life in prison Monday after the injured physician said he believed the attack stemmed from a board disciplinary decision.
Randeep Mann's defense lawyers vowed to appeal and insisted on their client's innocence during the hearing in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. Prosecutors said Mann left a bomb outside Dr. Trent Pierce's home in West Memphis in 2009, after the medical board suspended Mann's license to prescribe narcotics following the overdose deaths of some of his patients.
Pierce echoed those claims Monday as he urged the judge for a harsh sentence, saying the bombing was "revenge for decisions I participated in on the Medical Board" and aimed at intimidating other members. He also noted the bombing left him blind in one eye and with limited vision in the other, and deaf in one ear. The force of the bomb also severed his olfactory nerve, taking away his sense of smell.
"People who serve the common good should have no fear," said Pierce, who remains at the state board's helm. "Dr. Mann's attack on me was an attack on a public official."
Mann didn't speak after U.S. District Judge Brian Miller handed down the sentence. Mann's wife, who was convicted of obstruction, was sentenced to a year in prison.
Prosecutors said more people may be charged in the case.
Mann, who ran a pain clinic in Russellville, was convicted last year on charges including using a weapon of mass destruction with intent to kill. Investigators determined that the explosion outside Pierce's home came from a grenade rigged inside a spare tire.
He was arrested about a month after the February 2009 bombing on weapons charges for possessing nearly 100 grenades and a tremendous cache of machine guns and ammunition, though almost all of the firearms were legally registered. It took almost a year for agents to build their case against Mann, who was indicted in January 2010 for the bombing.
Blake Hendrix, one of Mann's attorneys, said evidence was not sufficient for a conviction and the government stacked too many charges together.
"We just want a fair jury trial," Hendrix said.
Mann's wife, Sangeeta Mann, also didn't make a statement when she was sentenced on two obstruction-related charges, but the judge allowed her to remain free while she appeals her conviction.
She faced up to 20 years in prison, but Miller noted that she moved financial documents at the behest of her husband that ultimately didn't have a bearing on the investigation.