|Saturday, November 01, 2003
Supporters celebrate verdict
|"We'll be the very first" to go back if Knox is able to re-establish a practice, said the wife of a former patient.
By Tad Dickens and Shawna Morrison
Some who sat through weeks of trial and days of deliberation over the legal fate of Dr. Cecil Knox and two employees were ecstatic at the verdicts.
Others were angry.
But few would disagree with Tammy Akers' assessment of the result.
"I don't think anyone was really expecting this," Akers said.
Akers lost her brother, Tracy Akers, and blames Knox. But many in the courtroom came to support Knox, who with office manager Beverly Boone, was acquitted Friday night of many of the charges against him, and convicted of none.
Knox, Boone and and licensed professional counselor Willard Newbill still face a variety of charges, on which the federal jury could not agree.
Still, supporters celebrated for Knox, a man they said cared about them as if they were family.
Rick Dudding of New Castle said that when he was at one of his lowest points, Knox gave him a tiny card to show his support.
The card depicted a weakened man who held a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other. Jesus held the man up.
Dudding became Knox's patient in 1995, after a drunken driver struck the tractor-trailer he was driving.
"That's when I was down in the dumps. That's when I was falling apart," Dudding said after the trial ended. "The pain was so bad ... you wanted to shoot yourself."
At the trial he wore the card pinned to his shirt, along with a prescription sheet on which Knox had drawn a heart for Dudding.
Friday evening, Dudding gave the card back to Knox "to let him know that I was there for his uplift," Dudding said.
"He started crying, just like me," Dudding said. "Cecil means a lot to me."
After group hugs, laughter and pats on backs, participants and supporters filed outdoors.
Standing beside a courthouse door, Doug Douglas stood smiling with his wife, Beverly.
While Beverly Douglas was mostly excluded as a viewer because of her status as a witness, Doug Douglas said he watched most of the past two weeks - after he returned from a hospital stay which included 11 days in a coma.
His time viewing the trial could be "pretty frustrating," he said, "because of some of the things they talked about. I wished I could respond."
Knox has treated Doug Douglas for years because of a variety of physical problems. Knox even built his patient a support for his boot, to improve a limp caused by shortness in one leg.
Doug Douglas, like other Knox patients, has had to seek new options since federal authorities shuttered the practice. That has been hard, Beverly Douglas said, because she always knew Knox would be there for her husband, through suicide attempts and nightmares caused by pain and war-related post - traumatic stress syndrome.
"We'll be the very first" to go back if Knox is able to re-establish a practice, Beverly Douglas said.
As the Douglases walked away, only one person - Tammy Akers - remained in the courtyard. She sat on a concrete bench, sobbing over her 37-year-old brother, whose February 2002 overdose death haunts her still.
She had testified for the prosecution and said outside court that Knox turned her brother, a quadriplegic, into a man who could barely hold up his head.
"We thought Dr. Knox was a miracle worker for us," Akers said outside the courtroom. "And in the end, he didn't care."