Hampton Pharmacy robbery suspect arraigned in Criminal Court

Published 4:42 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

A Carter County man charged with robbing a local pharmacy in February 2017 made his first appearance in Criminal Court in connection with the case on Friday.

Jason Daniel Stout, 37, of 297 Keenburg Road, Elizabethton, appeared before Judge Lisa Rice with his attorney Jim Bowman and was arraigned on charges of aggravated robbery (involving a weapon) and the introduction of contraband into a penal facility.

Bowman, on behalf of his client, waived a formal reading of the indictment against Stout and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

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Following the arraignment, Bowman asked the court for a continuance to allow him time to review the case. Rice gave Bowman the option of a couple of different court dates and Bowman selected April 13 for Stout’s next appearance.

The charges against Stout stem from an investigation by the Carter County Sheriff’s Office into a report of an armed robbery at the Hampton Pharmacy, located at 339 Highway 321, in Hampton, on Feb. 23, 2017.

Shortly before Noon on Feb. 23, deputies of the CCSO were dispatched to Hampton Pharmacy after employees called 911 to report they had been robbed. Witnesses told officers that a man, who was later identified as Stout, entered the pharmacy with a mask over his face, brandished a handgun and demanded prescription medication.

The witnesses were able to provide officers with a description of the vehicle Stout allegedly fled the scene in. Later that day, according to Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, officers received a tip from a citizen which led officers to the home at 297 Keenburg Road and Stout.

Deputies arrested Stout at that time and charged him with aggravated robbery and booked into the Carter County Detention Center. He was later charged with introduction of contraband into a penal facility after corrections officers reportedly found him in possession of numerous prescription pain pills which he is accused of smuggling into the jail.

A preliminary hearing was held on the charges in Carter County General Sessions Court on Sept. 29, during which the court heard testimony from CCSO Investigator Sgt. Travis Ludlow and an employee of the pharmacy who was working the day the robbery occurred.

Donna Williams, the pharmacy employee, described the events that transpired on Feb. 23 while she and two other women were working inside the pharmacy.

“A guy comes in with a blue mask on his face,” Williams recalled. “We were all just standing there stunned. He said give me all your Oxycodone and Oxymorphone.”

Williams said she tried to walk away, but the man shouted at her for her to come back.

“He slammed his gun down on the counter,” Williams said. “I was scared to death. I’ve been robbed before.”

Ludlow testified about his interactions with Stout after officers took him into custody at his home. According to Ludlow, Stout cooperated with officers and showed them where he had hidden the clothing he wore during the robbery as well as the weapon he had used, which Ludlow said turned out to be a pellet gun.

Ludlow testified that when he interviewed Stout, the man confessed to robbing the pharmacy because he was addicted to pain medication.

“He was upset. He was very remorseful,” Ludlow said. “He stressed he has a pill dependency problem and made a mistake.”

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Keith Bowers Jr. ruled the State had met the burden of proof and bound the case over to the Carter County Grand Jury.

On Jan. 5, 2018, the Grand Jury handed down an indictment against Stout charging him with aggravated robbery (involving a weapon) and the introduction of contraband into a penal facility.