By: Jessica Dean
LITTLE ROCK- After more than two days of deliberations, a federal jury convicted Doctor Randeep Mann of masterminding the 2009 bomb attack that severely injured the chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board. The attack left Doctor Trent Pierce partially blind.
The jury found Mann guilty of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, possession of an unregistered machine gun and dozens of grenades and obstruction of justice. He was found not guilty of possessing an unregistered shotgun.
"We stand before you today very pleased with the jury's verdict," said United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jane Duke. "They obviously listened to the evidence very carefully and deliberated as they were asked to do and their jury verdict spoke very loud and clearly."
Prosecutors said during the trial that Mann had sought revenge against Pierce because he was upset about being disciplined for over-prescribing pain killers. Defense attorneys argued the prosecution's case was flimsy and that investigators targeted the wrong person because of his race and weapons collecting.
The five week trial centered around circumstantial evidence only, with no forensic evidence tying Mann to the bombing.
"You don't have to have forensic evidence every time you try a case," explained Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Karen Whatley. "The jury understood that and the jury took every piece of evidence we had in this case. It was a circumstantial case and we were able to put it together in such a way from the help of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies and we thank them and the jury for their ability to sift through it."
Attorneys for Mann say there was a lack of evidence they believe could be illegally insufficient.
"I believe there was a lack of evidence to support every one of the convictions, in particular the bombing count, which was a fairly shocking verdict," said Mann's attorney, Blake Hendrix.
Mann's attorneys plan to appeal the convictions in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for a legal determination of the sufficiency of the evidence, Hendrix said.
Mann's wife, Sangeeta was also found guilty of obstruction of justice. The jury ruled her not guilty of giving false declarations to a grand jury. Sentencing for both Randeep Mann and Sangeeta Mann is expected within the next 60 to 90 days.
The victim of the bombing, Doctor Trent Pierce, was not in the courtroom at the time the verdict was read, but was instead at his medical clinic in West Memphis seeing patients, according to Jane Duke.
"Doctor Pierce is the hero in this case, he truly is" Duke said in her statement to the media. "He is a man that has dedicated so many hours to the selfless pursuit of improving the medical profession in this state. It was that very dedication that caused him to be targeted in this case and to suffer the life threatening injuries he did. And to his credit, he has not shied away from that dedication and to this day remains dedicated to improving medical care in this state."