Arkansas doctor charged in bombing that injured another physician
■ The accused bomber was disciplined by the state medical board headed by the doctor who was the target of the attack.
Federal prosecutors on Jan. 6 indicted Arkansas internist Randeep Mann, MD, in the 2009 bombing attack of Trent Pierce, MD, chair of the state medical board.
Dr. Pierce, who lost his left eye in the bombing, has returned to work at his family practice and is chairing medical board meetings, said radiologist Scott Ferguson, MD, a longtime friend who serves as the family's spokesman.
"He is seeing patients and doing remarkably well," Dr. Ferguson said in an interview. However, he added, "It will never be the same. You're changed forever when something like this happens."
The indictment, announced by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, charged Dr. Mann, 51, with using a "weapon of mass destruction" against Dr. Pierce and damaging or destroying his car with an explosive Feb. 4, 2009. The indictment states that Dr. Mann did not act alone, but it does not name other suspects.
The Associated Press reported that the state medical board had twice stripped Dr. Mann of his right to prescribe narcotics -- temporarily in 2003, then permanently in 2006 -- after 10 of his patients fatally overdosed. Federal judges had thrown out two lawsuits filed by Dr. Mann, including one in which the naturalized U.S. citizen alleged discrimination by the medical board because he was a Hindu from India.
U.S. Attorney Jane Duke did not return calls seeking comment by this article's deadline. In a news release, she said: "Dr. Pierce was, and remains, a dedicated professional committed to the health and healing of others. We believe that very dedication -- exemplified through his service on the Arkansas State Medical Board -- was what caused him to be targeted by Dr. Mann in this heinous act."
Dr. Mann also was charged with the unlawful possession of chloroform while in federal custody at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility in Little Rock, Ark., where he is being held. In 2009, he was charged with possessing 98 grenades and two firearms that were not registered to him and with unlawful possession of a machine gun.
Prosecutors said Dr. Mann, who was arrested March 4, 2009, could receive life in prison if convicted of using a "weapon of mass destruction." Dr. Mann's attorney did not return a call seeking comment by this article's deadline.
Nearly a year after the blast, Dr. Pierce is still undergoing surgeries for hearing loss in his left ear and reconstruction of his face where debris was embedded.