Saturday, December 21, 2002
Federal judge rules that pain specialist is too sick to stand trial Jan. 6
Illness leads to delay in doctor's trial
By JEN McCAFFERY
THE ROANOKE TIMES
A federal judge ruled Friday that a Roanoke pain specialist will not face
trial Jan. 6 because he is severely ill.
Chief U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson decided that Cecil Byron Knox, who
is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, was too sick to stand
"You can rest assured that no one in a state of ill health to the extent
you have described will be forced to stand trial," Wilson said.
Attorneys for Knox and his corporation, Southwest Virginia Physical Medicine
and Rehabilitation, had filed a motion Friday seeking to postpone Knox's trial
because of his health.
Knox's immune system has been compromised by radiation therapy and
chemotherapy, according to a motion filed by Roanoke attorneys Tony Anderson
and John Lichtenstein. Knox, 53, would not be able to assist in his own
defense and would face the risk of infection if he stood trial, they argued.
U.S. Attorney John Brownlee had no comment on Wilson's ruling.
The ruling leaves in the air the question of whether Knox will ever stand
trial. It also raises the question of what will happen to Knox's four
co-defendants in the case, who worked with him at Southwest Virginia Physical
Medicine and Rehabilitation on Second Street Southwest.
Knox and his former employees, Beverly Gale Boone, 43, and Tiffany Durham,
28, of Blue Ridge, face charges of conspiracy, health care fraud, mail fraud,
obstruction of justice, payment and receipt of kickbacks, illegal drug
distribution that resulted in the death or serious injury of patients, and
prescription of drugs for no legitimate medical purpose. Knox and Boone, both
of Roanoke, also face racketeering charges. The indictment also alleges that
Knox traded OxyContin prescriptions for marijuana.
Two other people who worked with Knox at the practice, Willard Newbill James
Jr., 57, of Roanoke, and Kathleen O'Gee, 54, of Pulaski, also face
racketeering and health care fraud charges.
Wilson said that he would seek further information about Knox's health from
his oncologist, Dr. William Fintel.
David Damico, who represents James, asked Wilson to consider separating
Knox's trial from that of the defendants, so that their cases could still be
heard Jan. 6. Wilson said he would consider that argument, but said he would
be reluctant to try the case twice.
Jen McCaffery can be reached at 981-3336 or email@example.com.