LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jane W. Duke, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Phillip Durham, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced today the return of a second superseding indictment against Dr. Randeep Mann, age 51, of London, Ark. In addition to earlier charges, Mann is now also charged with the Feb. 4, 2009, bombing of Dr. Trent Pierce, Chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board. Count one charges that Mann, aided and abetted by a person or persons unknown to the grand jury, used and conspired to use a "weapon of mass destruction" against a person and property within the United States, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 2332a. Count two charges that Mann, aided and abetted by a person or persons unknown to the grand jury, maliciously damaged or destroyed a vehicle by means of an explosive, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 844(I).
The only other new charge, Count 10, charges Mann with unlawfully possessing contraband, specifically, chloroform, while being held in federal custody at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1791.
The remaining counts of the 10-count second superseding indictment reassert earlier charges against Mann and his wife, Sangeeta "Sue" Mann, age 48. Counts 3-5 charge Mann with possessing 98 grenades and two firearms that were not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of Title 26, U.S. Code, Section 5861(d). Count six charges Mann with unlawfully possessing a machine gun in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 922(o). Counts 7 and 8 charge Mann and his wife with conspiring to obstruct or impede the proceedings against Mann and with concealing some checks with the intent to impair their availability for use in proceedings against Mann. Sue Mann is charged individually in count nine for making a false declaration to the federal grand jury during its investigation of her husband.
Dr. Mann was arrested on March 4, 2009, and has been in federal custody since that date. Sue Mann was arrested on Aug. 7, 2009. She was released on her own recognizance by the Honorable Beth Deere, U.S. Magistrate Judge, after a detention hearing on Aug. 10, 2009.
The Manns' trial, for which there is currently pending a motion to sever defendants, is slated to begin on March 15, 2010. However, it is uncertain whether that trial setting will remain in place in light of the new charges.
"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," stated Duke. She added, "Several months ago, Dr. Mann was identified as a suspect in this bombing. But, without the diligent efforts of the ATF investigators and analysts on this case, Dr. Mann could have simply remained an uncharged suspect in this matter. I want to recognize the efforts of the ATF personnel, as well as the prosecutors in my office, who worked on this case and commend them for not simply jumping to conclusions or walking away from a complex investigation. Instead, they patiently and thoroughly uncovered the evidence needed to charge the individual we believe to have been responsible for perpetrating this violent crime."
"The calculated plan to harm Dr. Trent Pierce, a well respected physician and pillar of the West Memphis community, caused him serious injury," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Phil Durham of the New Orleans Field Division. "Today, ATF has sought to put the person responsible for this crime behind bars for a very long time. ATF will continue to work closely with our law enforcement agencies to send a clear message to those who commit violent crime that they will be brought to justice."
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original complaint against Mann, the case began on March 3, 2009, when Pope County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call regarding military ordinances that were found on wooded property in London, Ark. On that date, City of London Public Works employees observed a partially buried plastic bag in the woods. A worker dug up the bag and discovered a military canister containing military ordinances inside. These ordinances were later determined to be high explosive rounds designed to be fired from a grenade launcher.
Dr. Mann, who lives approximately 875 feet from where the grenades were found, was previously interviewed by ATF agents during their investigation into an explosion that injured Dr. Trent Pierce on Feb. 4, 2009, outside Dr. Pierce's home in West Memphis, Ark. During Mann's interview, which took place the day of the bombing, Mann showed investigators at least one grenade launcher he legally owned.
Armed with the discovery of the grenades, the information regarding Mann's possession of a grenade launcher, and Mann's close proximity to the location where the grenades were found, law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for Mann's London, Ark. residence on March 4, 2009. In the course of executing that warrant, officers found five military canisters that were the exact shape, size and color as the canister recovered from the woods, with one of the five bearing the same lot number as the canister found in the woods. Also located during the search of Mann's house was a box containing 45 practice rounds of ammunition for a grenade launcher, as well as two grenade launchers that were found in a basement safe. Both grenade launchers were capable of firing the grenades found in the woods. Investigators also found 110 semi and fully automatic firearms in Mann's house, with an estimated aggregate value in excess of $1,000,000. Investigation revealed that the majority of those weapons were lawfully registered to Mann.
If convicted of count one of the second superseding indictment, Mann faces up to life imprisonment. Count two carries a possible punishment of not less than seven years and not more than 40 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. Mann also could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if he is convicted of possessing chloroform while detained as a federal inmate. The possession of unregistered firearms offenses carry a possible punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. The possession of the machine gun charge carries a possible punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The statutory penalty for the obstruction charges are up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each defendant. Sue Mann faces up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine if she is convicted of making a false declaration before the grand jury.
The investigation was conducted by the ATF; the FBI; the Pope County Sheriff's Office; the West Memphis Police Department Bomb Squad; the Shelby County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad; and the Arkansas State Police with assistance from the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Offices of the 5th and 2nd Judicial Districts - David Gibbons and Michael Walden, prosecutors. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gordon and Karen Whatley.
An indictment contains only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice