The verdict against Ray Adams, 57, and Samuel Crump, 71, came after 90 minutes of jury deliberation and almost two weeks of testimony in U.S. District Court in Gainesville, Ga. Each man was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess and manufacture a biological toxin to be used as a weapon, and another count each of possessing a biological toxin for weapons use. Adams was acquitted of a third related count.
A law-enforcement informant in 2011 had covertly recorded the men talking in a Waffle House chain restaurant — among other locations — about their hatred of the federal government and the prospect of carrying out deadly attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities using ricin.
The prosecutor in the case, Bill McKinnon, in his final argument laid out some of the physical evidence before the jury. Those included matching recipes for ricin found at each of the defendants’ homes; shelled castor beans — a key ricin ingredient — discovered at both homes; acetone, another ingredient for the toxin, located at Adams’ home; and rubber gloves found at Crump’s home, the wire service reported.
Defense lawyers asserted that their clients were frustrated with the federal government but had no plans or capacity to undertake an attack.
“What that boils down to is if you have castor beans, you better not suggest you’re going to do anything with them,” Ed Tolley, Adams’ attorney, said after hearing the guilty verdict.
Crump’s lawyer, Dan Summer, said he thought “the court gave us a fair trial.”
Each of the charges could involve a maximum of life in prison. As of Friday, date for sentencing had not yet been set.
Originally four men had been arrested in November 2011 for their alleged involvement in the plot. However, two of them — Dan Roberts and Frederick Thomas — pleaded guilty in April 2012 to lesser charges. They were each sentenced to give years behind bars.
In a separate case, James Dutschke, 42, pleaded guilty on Friday in a Mississippi court to mailing anthrax-laced letters to President Obama and two other officials, according to a different AP report. The case involved several twists and turns, including a strange attempt to implicate a longstanding rival — an Elvis impersonator — who was briefly detained in the matter.
Dutschke initially had pleaded innocent in the case and denied wrongdoing, but now is expected to serve 25 years in prison under a plea agreement with prosecutors.