GAINESVILLE, Georgia (AP) — A prosecutor said Tuesday that two men plotted to make a poison to use against government officials and federal buildings, while defense attorneys said the pair were simply talking big and committed no crimes.
The lawyers' claims came during opening statements in the trial of Samuel Crump and Ray Adams before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in Gainesville.
Crump, 70, and Adams, 57, were among four men arrested in November 2011 after an undercover informant made recordings at their meetings at homes, during car rides and at a Waffle House restaurant. They face charges of conspiring and attempting to make ricin.
Two other men, Frederick Thomas and Dan Roberts, pleaded guilty in April 2012 to conspiring to get an unregistered explosive and an illegal gun silencer. Story sentenced each of them to five years in prison.
Federal prosecutor Jeffrey Brown read statements he said the two men made in secretly recorded conversations about their desire to strike the federal government and their willingness to kill people. He also explained to the jury that searches of their homes turned up large quantities of castor beans, which are used to make ricin, as well as a recipe for the toxin and tools used to make it.
"It's their actions, coupled with their own words ... that shows their desire to use ricin to kill innocent people," Brown said. He repeatedly stressed that the two men went beyond just words to commit criminal actions.
Barry Lombardo, an attorney for Adams, described his client as a "country boy" who loves to hunt and fish and knows a fair amount about plants. Adams knew castor beans as a solution to get rid of pesky moles and grew castor plants as a decorative hedge along his driveway, Lombardo said.
Lombardo described Crump as having "a bulldog mouth and a chihuahua behind," meaning he was all talk and bluster.