Woman Charged in Ricin Case to Remain in Custody | Off Message

Woman Charged in Ricin Case to Remain in Custody


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The 70-year-old woman who allegedly made ricin at the Wake Robin retirement community in Shelburne has a history of mental health hospitalizations and will remain in federal custody without bail.

The lawyer for Betty Miller did not oppose the government's request to keep her in custody during a hearing Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Burlington.

Paul Volk agreed that his client should remain incarcerated while he searches for a suitable place for Miller to live. He also raised no disagreement after Judge John Conroy referred to Miller as a person with a history of numerous hospitalizations and prior suicide attempts.

Conroy attributed that description to a government document prepared prior to the hearing that argued for Miller to stay behind bars as the case moves forward.

Miller, a slim woman with short, graying hair, sat quietly during the hearing and let her attorney do the talking. After the judge ruled she would remain in custody, she was impassive. She walked out of the courtroom using a cane, escorted by federal officers. It's not clear if any of her family members were in the building.

Volk did not immediately return a request for comment after the hearing.

Miller was arraigned last Friday for possession of an "unregistered select agent."

She was charged after she told health care workers at the University of Vermont Medical Center that she had concocted ricin from castor beans and was sprinkling it into other residents' food. No residents reported symptoms of ricin poisoning, according to an affidavit from a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent.

A hazmat team searched her apartment and found a substance identified as a derivative of ricin.

Wake Robin officials have said Miller will not be allowed to return there.