Sep 20 2011
11:51 pm

Prescription Drugs targeted by Local Law Enforcement

September 20, 2011 – Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones, and Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols today announced the arrest of four Knox County residents on multiple drug charges.

The arrests stem from several interrelated investigations over the past year by the KPD, KCSD and Knox County DA’s Office, culminating in today’s arrests led by the KPD Organized Crime Unit.

The charges in these cases are part of the focus of law enforcement here and across Tennessee on the scourge of the illegal use prescription drugs. Evidence on these charges was presented to a Knox County Grand Jury by the DA’s Office. Based on that evidence the Grand Jury returned indictments today.

Four individuals were indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury on 10 Felony drug charges:

1) Yolanda Meza Harper DOB: 12/20/1973 Tarklin Valley Road address
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Adderall), a Class C Felony
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Methadone) in a School Zone, a Class B felony
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Methadone) in a Child Care Zone, a Class C felony
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Methadone) in a Park Zone, a Class C felony
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Methadone), a Class C Felony

2) Randall Ray Houser DOB: 11/20/1970 Tarklin Valley Road address
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Adderall), A Class C felony

3) Laurie Pelot Gooch DOB: 5/16/1961 Ainsworth Drive address
• Three Counts of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Oxycodone), a Class C felony

4) Kasie Westmoreland Robinson DOB: 8/23/1983 Woodbine Avenue address
• One Count of Sale & Delivery of Schedule II (Oxycodone), a Class C felony

Class C felonies carry a minimum sentence of 3 to 6 years.

Class B felonies carry a minimum sentence of 8 to 12 year.

School Zone, Child Care Zone and Park Zone cases require day for day service of the entire sentence.
The KCSD assisted the KPD in making these arrests.

This press release went out at 11:14 p.m.
No mention on websites yet.

Andy Axel's picture

Let's hear it for the KPD.

Let's hear it for the KPD.

Bbeanster's picture

Absolutely. THey are politely

THey are politely sharing credit, but they are being oo generous.
This new police chief is a peach.

R. Neal's picture


Katie's statement:


Bbeanster's picture

Wow. KNS is very slow picking

KNS is very slow picking up this story. Nobody works early/late shift?

Treehouse's picture

It's about time

Thanks, KPD. And I look forward to hearing what part the Knox County Sheriffs and DA's Department had to do with this.

R. Neal's picture

Waiting anxiously for Jamie

Waiting anxiously for Jamie Satterfield's breathless spin on this after she pretty much dismissed the whole case along with KCSO and the DA.

R. Neal's picture

Don Jacobs is on it: Three

Don Jacobs is on it:

Three people interviewed in death of teen indicted on unrelated drug charges

Curiously no mug shot of Gooch. Here you go:


50 cents wasted's picture

Nobody is talking about the Blance family arrests, wonder why?

Two of the arrests as shown on knoxsheriff.org were for sale of drugs in a school zone.

Why won't the daily rag report, in great detail, any arrests of any individuals in a school zone. Also, they do not report any crimes of any type which occur in or about West Town Mall.

I don't see how Jack McIlroy sleeps at night when he picks and chooses what NOT to report. Sad, sad commentary for our daily rag.

Hildegard's picture

Bond amount is determined

Bond amount is determined according to nature of offense + extent of criminal history. 25 grand on somebody who has no record with a class C felony is very high. Most nonviolent Class C felony-as-first-charges get more like around five to ten grand.

Edit: I notice Gooch has three charges, so 25 is about right for a first offender. The other bond amounts look pretty standard as well.

Pam Strickland's picture

Hildy, My understanding is


My understanding is that Harper is on diversion regarding a case in Third Division, and that since she has been charged now there might be problems with that case. I don't have my notes in front of me now, but it was a theft or theft by deception, if I remember correctly. She's had no other trafficking charges although she has had some simple possession charges and a DUI that was reduced, I believe. Also, I'm wondering if the fact that three of her five charges were for trafficking in a park, school zone or child care zone has something to do with her bail amount.

Can you give us some insight into that. As I told Darrell DeBusk when I was talking to him earlier today, I don't normally do criminal reporting, so I tread in this area very carefully. He was very kind regarding one of my questions, and graciously pointed me in the right direction.


Anonymous post's picture

Let Henry Rest In Peace !

(comment removed by management)

To be honest, how does anybody know these people are involved in the death of Henry? Henry killed his self. nobody on this green earth made Henry take any kind of drug. He was a 18year old boy and knew how to say no and yes. People are blaming the wrong person. Laurie's daughter was in jail when Henry went to go get or sell drugs that night. Laurie had nothing to do with that night. Her 17 year old daughter had to watch her mother get arrested because of Katie Granju. How would you feel if it was the other way around. Katie you have a daughter the same age. Open your eyes and realize it was nobodys fault but Henrys. Let the boy rest in peace.
Treehouse's picture

Wrong place

Anonymous, you are in the wrong place. Please go back and comment on the News Sentinel site when they let people like you shout all day long in spite of their venomous opinions.

Rich Hailey's picture

A Great Day for Knoxville

I am so happy for Katie and the rest of her family. After months of indifference, abuse, and scorn, finally, somebody paid attention and now we have several drug dealers off the streets. And in a special bonus, the KNS once again is made to look ridiculous. As the arrest warrants were going out, Satterfield was crowing how Katie's efforts were all going 'to no avail.'

How can one person be wrong so many times?

ANGRYWOLF's picture

It is sad...

about all the hate directed Katie's way in the KNS comments.
I guess people don't want someone who loses a loved one to criminal activity to seek justice through legal recourse when the system is against them.Of course most of those posters love it when a gun is used by someone to protect themselves or what is theirs.But I guess filing a lawsuit to seek justice is somehow wrongful in their sight.

It must have been embarrassing for Satterfield, for the KCSO and for the DA's office that those charges were brought by the KPD. Makes one think those folks who were condemming Katie had motivations other than justice in mind.

I have been recalling the former UT footbal player who passed away from an overdose, yes Aaron Douglas and how the person in FLA who sold or gave him the drugs was quickly charged with manslaughter:



Maybe there should be a Henry's Law.To correct the deficiencies.

Katie would have to find an ally in the TN state legislature which with the repubs in control might be hard to do.

It's up to her to decide to go that route of course.

I do wish her well.

kag's picture

Tennessee law allows charges just like in the Douglas case

Thank you so much for your kind words, Angry Wolf, and for the support of everyone here at KnoxViews over the last year. It's meant a great deal to me, and the community here has propped up my sagging resolve at various times when I wasn't sure I could keep pushing forward.

I do want to clarify that Tennessee's criminal statutes are just as powerful as Florida's with regard to drug-induced homicide. I spoke with the Douglas family shortly after Aaron's death and encouraged them to work closely with the local authorities in the jurisdiction where their son's death occurred to encourage them to utilize Florida's drug-induced homicide law, which is contained within that state's 1st degree murder statute.

Tennessee's drug-induced homicide law is contained within our second degree murder statute (see: (link...) ). However, in both states, the laws are carefully written, strict liability statutes that specifically do not require intent to make a case. They offer law enforcement and prosecutors a powerful tool for their overall toolbox to bring to their work fighting drug trafficking. Drug-induced homicide charges are appropriate when the totality of the circumstances in a particular overdose death call for very serious charges.

Federal law also offers the opportunity to charge and prosecute dealers with drug-induced homicide when appropriate, and the penalty is even more severe under federal law when the victim is under 21 years old while the dealer is over 21, such as in my child's case. Federal prosecutors and the FBI are actively encouraging local law enforcement and prosecutors around the country to familiarize themselves with the state and federal statutes available for their use in cases like my son's, and to educate themselves on best practices for properly investigating and developing these cases. Here's some info on how and why to make these cases work from the FBI: (link...)

Forward-thinking U.S. Attorneys like Stephen Wigginton in Illinois are working hard to get the message out to their peers that these cases CAN be investigated and prosecuted successfully. Here' some info on Steve's work: (link...)

Again, thanks for everyone's support. This has been hell, but as Mr. Churchill said, when you're going through hell, keep going. And that's what I intend to do.


Tamara Shepherd's picture


What's been so stunning for me WRT all these rancid KNS comments is that probability has it a high percentage of them are coming from people who are themselves parents.

Certainly these should know that an 18 year-old is truly an "adult" only in the legal sense.

How amazingly, sickeningly vile they are, then, to speak of either a grieving mother or her dead child the way they have.

It has been the most profane display I have ever seen in KNS or any newspaper's online comments.

kag's picture

They've definitely been among

They've definitely been among the worst I've ever seen directed at a dead person who was never arrested or charged with any crime and his mother who has not been arrested or charged with any crime. Two of the worst from just the last 24 hours said (paraphrasing but pretty close):

-"Better people than Henry die every day."

-"I'm glad her offspring has now 'sprung' so he won't live to burden the taxpayers."

Yesterday's comments also contained a number of comments from someone claiming to know me well, stating for a fact that I am known to habitually "party" and "drink booze" and "date" in the presence of my children, which is why my oldest son turned to drugs and died.

It's easy to tell someone who is the target of what now amounts to thousands of horrifyingly painful mini-commentaries in her local newspaper over the past 15 months to just ignore it, but that's not realistic. The level and volume of the online commenting in the KNS that our family has endured over the past 15 months has really affected us. It's been a terrible "extra" thing to endure, and we have absolutely NO recourse to defend ourselves, defend Henry from the lies being repeated as fact in those comments, etc. It's been terrorizing.


kag's picture

Merry Prankster response to mean commenters

A modest proposal: (link...)

ANGRYWOLF's picture

I know what it is like to lose someone....

I am appalled that we seem to have selective law enforcement going on.I guess protect and serve depends on whether they feel like it.

I did speak to someone a few years back at a victims rights meeting who had lost his daughter to something similar to what happened to Henry.I don't recall his name though but I hope he contacts Katie and the two of them can work together on getting KCSO to change its attitude on such such crimes.

My thoughts are also that the TBI should have the authority to take over cases when local LE either can't or won't solve it but I presume local LE would scream bloody murder if that was ever proposed in the state legislature.
But it should happen.It does in other states.

I hope that the people who were arrested are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Drug dealers need to realize they will be held accountable and that LE won't look the other way.

phaedrus's picture

Missed the paper copy, might have it...

Katie Granju- may God provide the salve and peace you deserve.

Thank you for your unrelenting work in pursuing your cause, and for the greater work it will allow.

Justice seeked will be found.

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