Growing up, Ellie Harris was a joyful, talented artist and athlete, but in high school, she began to pull away from her family, who noticed a “profound” change in the teenager.
Her mother, Teresa Harris, later learned that Ellie had revealed to a few relatives that she had tried drugs, including heroin.
“To hear the words, ‘Your daughter took heroin, that she got a needle and shot up heroin, and she got a pipe, and she smoked some crack,’ you question everything you’ve ever done,” Teresa told “License to Kill,” airing Saturdays at 6/5c on Oxygen.
Although Teresa confronted her daughter several times about her drug use, they were “at a loss to help her,” and when Ellie was 18 years old, she was admitted to rehab, where she stayed for several weeks to work on managing her addiction.
Following her release, Ellie was “doing very well,” but two years later in November 2000, Ellie slipped on some ice and hurt her back. When over-the-counter medication failed to subdue her pain, she made an appointment to see Dr. Randeep Mann, a pain management specialist who ran his own clinic in Russellville, Arkansas.
Ellie shared her history with addiction, and Dr. Mann promised that he would help her remain in recovery while effectively treating her pain and prescribed her two medications: hydrocodone and alprazolam. By early spring, Teresa noticed that Ellie was sluggish and complained of constipation, which, unbeknownst to Teresa, were symptoms of opioid addiction.
On Jan. 30, 2002, 14 months after her first meeting with Dr. Mann, Ellie overdosed, and a toxicology report revealed she had a lethal amount of medication in her blood stream. When Teresa called Dr. Mann to discuss her overdose, he was far from sympathetic, according to Teresa.
“He said, ‘I have no control over my patients. Whenever they leave, they can do anything they want to with the medication,’” Teresa told producers.
Over the following months, authorities noticed a spike in overdose deaths in Russellville, and they realized that one name kept recurring on the victims’ prescription bottles: Dr. Randeep Mann.
One victim in particular, Shelly Green, had been prescribed Xanax, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone, and she developed a full-blown addiction within six months of seeing Dr. Mann, her family told “License to Kill.”
In May 2002, four months after Ellie’s death, Green was found unresponsive in her bed, and she was rushed to the hospital, where she ultimately recovered. Authorities found Green in possession of injectable Demerol, an opioid that is normally administered in a hospital or clinic setting.
Following a 72-hour hold, Green was released from the hospital, and her family begged her to seek treatment for her addiction. Green, however, was resistant, and a few month later, her sister, Melody Bucker, looked inside Green’s purse and found two prescription pill bottles bearing Bucker’s name.
She filed a police report, and when authorities spoke with Green, she admitted that if she ran out of her medication before her refill was due, Dr. Mann would give her a prescription in her sister’s name.
“That’s forgery. Forgery is a felony in the state of Arkansas. I really just wanted her to tell me about the forged prescriptions, but what she said next, it blindsided me,” Russellville Police Department Lieutenant Glenn Daniel told producers. “She claimed they were trading sex in exchange for pills.”
Green told authorities that she would arrive at Dr. Mann’s clinic around closing time and that once inside his office, he would give her a shot of injectable Demerol to “loosen her up.” She claimed they would then have sex, and he would give her pills from his private stash.
While investigators hoped Green would agree to wear a wire to meet Dr. Mann and discuss having sex in exchange for medication, she refused to turn against him.
Daniel continued his investigation and learned that multiple informants within the department’s narcotics unit were patients of Dr. Mann, and several of them claimed they were also trading sex for drugs. Like Green, none were willing to aid the investigation.
Daniel then turned the investigation over to the Arkansas Medical Board, who got in touch with Ellie’s family about the case.
“[The investigator] had indicated that Ellie was not the only one of Mann’s patients that had died of a drug overdose. I felt outrage, betrayed, lied to because you can't have a license to hurt people,” Teresa told producers.
In August 2003, 18 months after Ellie’s death, the Arkansas State Medical Board held a hearing, and several medical professionals were present, including Chairman Dr. Trent Pierce.
Dr. Mann denied allegations of trading drugs for sex and defended his prescription dosages, but that October, the board voted to suspend his DEA license, which outlawed him from prescribing narcotics.
Following his suspension, overdoses in Russellville fell significantly, but Mann retaliated by filing numerous appeals as well as a federal lawsuit against the Arkansas Medical Board alleging discrimination.
Following the legal battle, his DEA license was reinstated in 2004, and Dr. Mann was back in business. Overdose cases shot back up, and investigators counted 18 reported deaths who were patients of Dr. Mann, according to “License to Kill.”
Five months after Dr. Mann’s reinstatement, Green was caught with a large amount of drugs, and she was charged with possession with intent to sell, according to “License to Kill.” Green went to prison for about a year, and once she was released, she continued to battle her addiction and visit Dr. Mann.
At the time, Teresa and her husband had purchased some rental property, and coincidentally, Green applied for an apartment.
“After my experience with Ellie, I could recognize someone’s who high. Shelly’s high, I’m suspicious, I befriend her, and guess what? Her doctor is Mann,” Teresa told producers.
In October 2005, Green overdosed, but it wasn’t until the following July that Dr. Mann was sent back to the medical board for another trial, which was chaired by Dr. Pierce. At its conclusion, Dr. Mann’s medical license was suspended, and he was forced to give up his DEA license.
While it seemed that Russellville residents were now safer without Dr. Mann in practice, he executed a deadly plot in the winter of 2009.
On Feb. 4, a bomb went off in Dr. Pierce’s front yard as he was leaving for work. His clothing had been burned off, he had sacks of blood hanging from both eyes and compound fractures in his leg. Charred from head to toe, Dr. Pierce was rushed to the hospital.
It was determined his car’s spare tire had been rigged with a military grenade and detonated.
Authorities reached out to the medical board to see if there were any doctors who had recently been disciplined by the board, and they provided a list of five names, including Dr. Mann.
Dr. Mann was subsequently interviewed by investigators at his home, and he provided them with an alibi, which checked out. Inside his house, Dr. Mann offered to show authorities his vast collection of firearms, including two grenade launchers.
He claimed, however, that he did not possess any grenades that the weapons fired.
With no physical evidence linking him to the bombing, authorities were unable to charge Dr. Mann with the crime, but a month later, a city worker inspecting water lines near his house found a box of 98 grenades that had been buried in the ground.
Investigators secured a search warrant for his home, and the lot numbers of other ammunition boxes on the property were a match for the lot numbers of the ammunition box containing the buried grenades.
Authorities also found a spare tire that had been leaned against a shower stall.
“My hypothesis was that the spare tire was there because he was actually practicing how to set the improvised explosive device,” ATF Special Agent David Oliver told “License to Kill.”
Dr. Mann was arrested and charged with eight counts, including aiding and abetting in the use of a weapon of mass destruction, causing the damage or destruction of a vehicle by means of an explosive resulting in personal injury, possession of unregistered grenades, possession of an unregistered machinegun, possession of a machinegun, possession of an unregistered shotgun, conspiring to corruptly obstruct an official, and aiding and abetting in the corrupt concealment of documents with the intent to impair the use of the documents in an official, according to court documents.
Dr. Pierce, who survived the attack, testified at the trial, and Dr. Mann was ultimately found guilty on all counts except possession of an unregistered shotgun. He was sentenced to life in prison, reported local newspaper the Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2011.
To learn more about the case, watch “License to Kill” now on Oxygen.com.
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