Jul 30, 2014

Georgetown Student from Bethesda Made Ricin to Poison 'Another Person': Prosecutors

Student was inspired in part by television show "Breaking Bad," prosecutor says.

Georgetown Student from Bethesda Made Ricin to Poison 'Another Person': Prosecutors

A judge ordered the Georgetown University student accused of making a deadly ricin toxin released to his home in Bethesda and then to a psychiatric facility but stayed his ruling for 24 hours, keeping the 19-year-old locked up.

Daniel Milzman, a sophomore, was arrested March 18 and charged with making the biological toxin in his sixth- floor dorm room.

In his room in McCarthy Hall on the Georgetown campus, the FBI says, Milzman manufactured the deadly toxin from castor beans.

In a memorandum to the court asking that Milzman remain in pre-trial detention, WTOP reported, prosecutors say "there is evidence indicating that his purpose in creating this poison was to use it against another person."

Further the memorandum states that Milzman first learned about ricin in Quiz Bowl, a competitive question and answer group he founded at Georgetown, and from online sources like Wikipedia "as well as one of his favorite television shows, 'Breaking Bad,'" the station reported.

At the detention hearing in federal court, Asst. U.S. Attorney Maia Miller and defense lawyer Danny Onorato battled over whether Milzman was a danger to the community.

"He made a substance than can kill people and he made it in a public dorm room," Assistant U.S. Attorney Maia Miller told federal Magistrate John Facciola in federal court Tuesday, WTOP reported.

"He intended to cause harm in the worst way, to himself or someone else," she argued.

Defense lawyer Onorato said Milzman intended to make a suicide attempt with the ricin and had no intention of harming anyone else.

"He was a scared 19-year-old," Onorato told the judge. "This was a cry for help."

The judge ruled Milzman should be released to home confinement, but required that his parents take him to Sibley Memorial Hospital for two weeks of psychiatric care. Then, Milzman was ordered to be taken home and not left alone.

Prosecutors immediately requested a 24-hour stay to appeal the decision, which the judge granted.

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