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Newport man gets 10 years for armed robbery of Morristown pharmacy

Matthew Lane • Oct 3, 2018 at 3:30 PM

By MATTHEW LANE

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GREENEVILLE — A Newport man who robbed a Morristown pharmacy of $1,500 worth of opioids will spend the next 10 years in federal prison for his crimes.

Benjamin Joel Brooks, 40, appeared in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on Tuesday for sentencing. Brooks was indicted in January on charges of armed robbery and brandishing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

He pleaded guilty to those charges in March and faced seven to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

FACTS OF THE CASE

According to court records, in October of 2017, Brooks entered the East End Pharmacy in Morristown with his face and head covered, wearing a sweatshirt and brandishing a small, silver handgun. Brooks demanded pharmacy staff give him various opioids.

The value of the drugs was just under $1,500, the plea agreement states.

Officers with the Morristown Police Department and Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the pharmacy within minutes of the robbery. A K-9 officer helped apprehend Brooks, who was found a short distance away hiding in a thicket of kudzu vines along railroad tracks directly behind the pharmacy.

Brooks admitted to pointing an unloaded pistol at the pharmacy clerks, but said he wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

Randy Hurley, 47, of Newport, was charged with aiding and abetting Brooks in the robbery. Hurley is scheduled to plead guilty to those charges on Oct. 11.

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