Pharmacist from three-decade-old case denied release from prison; Families relieved


WARSAW, Mo. — A pharmacist who sold fake drugs to make extra money nearly three decades ago will not be released this week, bringing peace of mind to a family in Warsaw.

Four U.S. lawmakers called on the attorney general to block the early release of Robert Courtney.

Courtney admitted diluting 98,000 prescriptions for patients to make extra money. The prescriptions are believed to be the killer of thousands of patients.

Stacey Smalley Taylor’s father, a retired air-force Veteran, was one of those cancer patients who died in 1999.

Taylor says she learned about the early release through Facebook while others learned through an Emil from the Justice Department.

“It’s just bringing up a lot of feelings of hurt, sadness and anger,” said Taylor. “Most of my family has passed on now, so there is not a lot of us having to deal with this again. It is devastating and it was just kind of a shock.”

Courtney was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but the COVID-19 pandemic and whats called “compassionate release” allowed Courtney to have a chance of getting out of jail seven years early.

Federal officials believed Courtney’s age and health conditions would prevent him from re-offending.

Taylor and her fiancé feel there should be compassion for surviving loved ones.

“My children that were there the day he died,” said Taylor. “They had to suffer through that.”

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver and Sam Graves, and Governor Mike Parson sent letters to the Attorney General’s Office saying they “strongly disagree” with freeing Robert Courtney seven years early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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