DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
J. Douglas Overbey
, United States Attorney
Contact: Sharry Dedman-Beard

Benjamin Joel Brooks Sentenced to Serve Ten Years in Prison for Armed Robbery of Morristown Pharmacy

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On October 2, 2018, Benjamin Joel Brooks, 40, of Newport, Tennessee, was sentenced by the Honorable R. Leon Jordan, U.S. District Judge, to serve ten years in federal prison.  Upon his release from prison, he will be supervised by U.S. Probation for five years.   Brooks pleaded guilty in March 2018 to armed robbery of a pharmacy and using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during the robbery.

 

In October 2017, Brooks entered the East End Pharmacy in Morristown, Tennessee, with his face and head covered, wearing a sweatshirt, and brandishing a small silver handgun.  He demanded the pharmacy staff give him various opioid narcotics. 

 

 Officers with the Morristown Police Department and Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the pharmacy within minutes of the robbery and set up a perimeter.  A K9 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.  His capture was recorded on an officer-worn body camera.  The K9 recovered some of the clothing Brooks wore during the robbery.  Some of the pills that were stolen from the pharmacy were also recovered.

 

Three pharmacy employees and one customer were present during the robbery. The pharmacist and a customer identified the handgun as a small silver pistol, which was later recovered by officers with the Morristown Police Department.

 

Randy Hurley, 47, of Newport, Tennessee, was charged with aiding and abetting Brooks in this robbery.  He is set to enter a plea of guilty to these charges at 10:00 a.m., October 11, 2018, in U.S. District Court, Greeneville.

           

Agencies involved in this investigation included the Morristown Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Reeves represented the United States in court proceedings.        

 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.         

 

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Field Division: Nashville Field Division