Pubdate: Thu, 22 Jan 2004
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Copyright: 2004 Roanoke Times
Author: Jen McCaffery
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)
Bookmark: (Methadone)


The New Counts Against Cecil Byron Knox And Two Associates Come Less Than 
Three Months After A Roanoke Jury Did Not Convict Them On Any Charges.

A federal grand jury in Charlottesville returned new charges against 
Roanoke pain specialist Cecil Byron Knox and two associates Wednesday.

The new counts against Knox, his office manager Beverly Gale Boone, and 
licensed professional counselor Willard Newbill "Bill" James Jr. are the 
latest development in the case against them. This indictment replaces the 
old charges they faced, and it reflects some information that came out at 
their first trial.

The charges come less than three months after Knox, Boone and James stood 
trial for about eight weeks in federal court in Roanoke. The jury voted to 
acquit them on about half of the 69 charges that remained at the end of 
trial, and could not reach a verdict on the other counts. Federal judge 
Samuel Wilson dismissed all charges against the fourth defendant in the 
case, Kathleen O'Gee.

In the first trial, both Knox and Boone faced potential life sentences in 
connection with 17 prescriptions that federal prosecutors Rusty Fitzgerald 
and Patrick Hogeboom argued led to the death or serious injury of nine of 
Knox's patients.

Boone was acquitted on all of those counts. Knox was also acquitted of most 
of the counts, but the jury deadlocked on the question of prescriptions 
issued to Monte Kidd, Michael Debusk and Chris Ann Brown.

Knox now faces 14 counts that he prescribed medication outside the scope of 
legitimate medical practice to Brown, Kidd and Debusk and a potential life 
sentence on each of those charges.

Eleven of those counts correspond to prescriptions of OxyContin and OxyIR 
issued to Brown, a patient Knox treated while she was pregnant. Federal 
prosecutors alleged in the first trial that her baby daughter suffered from 
life-threatening withdrawal from painkillers after she was born.

Tony Anderson and John Lichtenstein, defense attorneys for Knox and his 
practice, Southwest Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, argued during the 
trial that Brown's obstetrician knew about and did not object to Knox's 
prescription of painkillers to Brown during her pregnancy. They declined to 
comment on the new indictment Wednesday.

Two other counts relate to Knox's prescription of the painkillers Actiq and 
morphine sulfate to Kidd, who lived in Salem. Kidd died in 2001, but his 
son testified during Knox's first trial that Knox told his father not to 
take the Actiq with the morphine sulfate.

The final overdose count relates to a methadone prescription to Michael 
Debusk, who died in 2001.

The perjury charge in the case also stems from Knox's treatment of Brown.

Federal prosecutors say that Knox lied when he testified at his trial that 
Brown told him she was afraid she could not carry her baby to term and that 
she might have to abort it because of the pain she was experiencing.

Knox, 54, also faces 64 counts of prescribing medication outside the scope 
of legitimate medical practice to five patients. The new indictment 
contains a total of 95 charges.

Knox increased the income generated from his medical practice more than 250 
percent from 1996 to 2000 as part of what federal prosecutors say is a 
criminal pattern that included racketeering, fraud, kickback payments and 
drug trafficking, the new indictment also alleges.

The new indictment also includes the new allegation, which came out at the 
first trial, that Knox ranked fifth out of 187,453 OxyContin prescribers 
around the United States based on the value of the drug he prescribed. The 
indictment also alleges that he repeatedly prescribed the stimulant Fastin 
to one of his patients with the understanding that the patient would split 
the medication with him.

Knox and Boone, 44, still also face charges of racketeering, conspiracy to 
commit racketeering, criminal conspiracy, mail fraud and health care fraud, 
as well as charges that they were part of an illegal kickback scheme.

James also faces criminal conspiracy, mail fraud and health care fraud charges.

Knox's former practice is no longer charged in the case at all.
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