KNOXVILLE, TN—A federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a 19-count indictment on June 15, 2010, charging Richard Kenneth Black, 32, Brian Christopher Bowling, 37, Somer Meshelle Bullard, 21, Rebecca Lynn Gann, 36, Amanda Dawn Green, 28, Aaron Blake Keisler, 25, and Whitney Deane Soard, 23, all of Knoxville, with conspiracy to commit and the commission of robberies of nine Knox County CVS and Walgreens pharmacies of oxycodone between January 24, 2010, and May 22, 2010. Two of the defendants appeared in federal court on June 16, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. Others will appear for arraignment or detention hearings on Monday, June 21, 2010, and Friday, June 25, 2010. The case has been set for trial on August 25, 2010, in Knoxville before U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips.
If convicted of pharmacy robbery, the defendants will be exposed on each count to a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and will be ordered to pay restitution.
“This district has recently experienced a significant increase in the number of pharmacy robberies during which prescription narcotics, particularly oxycodone, were demanded,” said U.S. Attorney James R. (Russ) Dedrick. “Every effort will be made to protect the employees of pharmacies in the area, and any person who commits a pharmacy robbery will be aggressively prosecuted in federal court.”
This indictment is the result of an investigation initiated by a detective from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance by a Knoxville Police Department investigator. The case was then referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force for federal prosecution. U.S. Attorney Dedrick expressed his appreciation to all three of these law enforcement agencies for their diligence in solving these crimes.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.