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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Man Gets 10 Years For Plot To Kill Former Girlfriend With Ricin


A Florida man has been sentenced to 10 years after a diabolical plot to kill his former girlfriend with a squirt gun and homemade ricin went awry. He was also charged with having two firearms as a convicted felon.

According to the FBI, they were tipped off that the defendant intended to manufacture ricin. He had also reportedly tested water guns to ensure that the gun wouldn’t leak. The plan was to spray his former partner in the face with the ricin-filled water gun, and then go off on vacation. She would die over the vacation, giving him an alibi for the death.

The biggest problem with this plan is science. Science can figure out how long it takes ricin to move through the body, how long the average body takes to process ricin, and so on. So, as long as the medical examiner could establish that ricin was the cause of death, they would not be able to exclude the defendant who went on vacation to establish an alibi.

Before the defendant could leave the state to engage his former girlfriend, he was stopped by ATF agents. He then admitted he had ricin and guns and was charged with manufacturing a biological weapon.

What is ricin? 

Ricin is a toxic chemical that is easy to make. You don’t have to be Walter White, you only need access to castor beans which are found readily in nature. So, controlling ricin is difficult. However, certain products used to extract ricin are watched. In most cases, the plots are uncovered when the defendant openly discusses the plot online. In one case, a package of ricin was intercepted on its way to the Whitehouse during the Trump administration. Ricin was a major concern for the Department of Homeland security as it has been used in terrorist attacks across the world.

Can ricin be detected post-mortem? 

There’s no easy test for ricin post-mortem, which is a problem for law enforcement. However, ricin does tend to destroy the body in specific ways and those ways are highly indicative of ricin exposure. But they are not definitive. So, law enforcement would need other evidence that contextualized a death in terms of ricin poisoning. In this case, the defendant had made purchases that they tracked to him.

Those exposed to ricin have generalized flu-like symptoms that keep getting worse. In most cases, they are unlikely to seek medical treatment until they begin vomiting blood. There is no antidote or treatment for ricin.

Talk to a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of Tampa residents who have been charged with federal crimes. Call our Tampa criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your defense immediately.


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