A suburban Chicago man got more than 7-1/2 years in prison for illegally obtaining a deadly puffer-fish toxin through the mail in 2008 allegedly to poison his wife.
CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man was sentenced by a federal judge Monday to more than 7 ½ years in prison for illegally obtaining a deadly puffer-fish toxin through the mail in 2008.
Prosecutors had alleged that Edward F. Bachner IV, 39, of Lake in the Hills, Ill., intended to use the toxin to poison his wife, Rebecca Bachner, who appeared in the Rockford courtroom Monday to support him.
When FBI agents arrested Bachner in June 2008, they found needles and syringes; vials of TTX, the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin; two passports; a phony CIA identification; a hand grenade; a pistol; and 50 knives, authorities said.
Bachner pleaded guilty last year to possession of a biological agent in the bizarre plot, in which authorities said he posed as a doctor to obtain large quantities of TTX from sources that include puffer fish, which naturally produce the poison.
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As little as four milligrams can kill a human, and Bachner had ordered 98 milligrams, prosecutors said.
Authorities claimed he planned to kill his wife and collect on a $20 million insurance policy, but those allegations were not part of his guilty plea.
Although she did not testify, Rebecca Bachner submitted a letter to Judge Frederick Kapala on her husband’s behalf.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Karner portrayed Bachner as having “lived two lives,” appearing outwardly as a happily married man while secretly plotting as far back as 2005 to kill his wife. Bachner had set up a secret website, diverted money from mortgage payments to pay for the poison, filed false tax returns and took out a $20 million life-insurance policy on his wife, for which he pleaded guilty to a wire-fraud charge.
Karner noted that Bachner has never revealed what happened to the empty TTX vials found in his home.
Bachner blamed the incident on “personal demons” that have plagued him since he was a child because of insecurities and being picked on. His lawyer said those issues drove Edward Bachner into a fantasy world.
Kapala sentenced Edward Bachner to 92 months in prison, noting that he would get credit for the 52 months he has been incarcerated since his arrest in 2008.
Includes material from The Associated Press