A woman accused of making the lethal ricin toxin in her Vermont retirement community and testing it on residents was sentenced on Thursday.
Betty Miller, 71, has been sentenced to time served and five years of probation and must undergo mental health treatment and must pay a $ 10,000 fine.
Miller, who has an extensive mental health record, is expected to be released on Monday when her attorney said she will undergo at least nine weeks of intensive mental health therapy at a hospital in Bangor, Maine, where she had been previously treated, followed by care for the convalescents.
Miller was arrested last November after telling investigators that she had made castor beans at her home in the Wake Robin community in Shelburne from castor beans because she wanted to hurt herself.
Betty Miller, 71, was charged on Thursday with five years of probation and a $ 10,000 fine, as well as time spent poisoning residents in her community home in November.
Betty Miller admitted having tasted the self-made castor in residents of Wake Robin's senior residence in Shelburne, Vermont
A federal complaint says that she tested the effectiveness of ricin by putting it in residents' food or drink. Nobody got seriously ill.
She pleaded guilty in May to possess the deadly toxin.
US District Court Judge Christina Reiss on Thursday rejected a plea agreement that required three years of supervised release and instead imposed five years of probation to extend her supervision and a fine, saying it was the best way to protect the public and send a message to Miller that there were many, many costs associated with the offense, including the application of the law.
Miller told the court Thursday that she learned a lot about her in prison, including "being kind and compassionate" and that "friendships are valuable."
Judge Reiss said she was pleased to hear that, considering the "insensitivity" with which she said that Miller had taken other people's lives into their own hands by exposing them to ricin.
If inhaled, ricin causes shortness of breath and other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea and hallucinations.
"That was something very indifferent and dangerous to do," he said. Ricin is so serious "that she is considered a weapon of mass destruction," Reiss said.
It is alleged that Miller, who has an extensive mental health record, made castor ricin, pictured, photo
He also said that Miller was smart and knew what he was doing, even having to spend a week in the hospital breathing the lethal agent.
Miller's judge and attorney also noted Miller's behavior after the offense, and they informed a psychologist and then the investigators what she had done, and her willingness and desire to get help.
"She made it clear that she wants to resume" serious and prolonged interventions at a facility where she was previously in Maine, said Miller's lawyer, Paul Volk.
She also paid around $ 90,000 for restitution to the retirement community of Wake Robbin, he said.
As part of his release conditions, he must undergo mental health treatment or return to prison, Reiss said, as well as drug tests and should not have any contact with the victims.
WHAT IS RICIN?
Ricin is made from the waste material that remains from the processing of castor beans.
In addition, it comes in the form of a mist, a powder or a small ball. It can also be dissolved in acid or weak water.
If the curls are chewed and swallowed, the ricin that is released can cause serious injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the effects of exposure to ricin usually appear in a day.
The main symptoms of ricin poisoning depend on the route of exposure and the dose received, although many organs may be affected in severe cases.
There is no antidote to treat ricin poisoning.
Ricin poisoning is not contagious and the disease associated with Ricin can not be transmitted from person to person through casual contact.
However, if you get in touch with someone who has ricin on your body or on your clothes, you could expose yourself to it.
An adult can die after ingesting a dose of purified ricin powder the size of a few grains of table salt.
Source: El Centers for disease control