Police: Inmate behind Justin Bieber threat made anthrax hoax

AP News
Posted: Aug 18, 2016 3:12 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont inmate who once hatched a plot in a New Mexico prison to kill pop singer Justin Bieber was behind an anthrax scare at a courthouse where he was sentenced for killing a 15-year-old girl, police said.

The courthouse in the city of Barre received an envelope Wednesday containing white powder and a note claiming it was anthrax. The envelope was marked as inmate correspondence from a Delaware prison where Dana Martin, now 48, is serving 35 years to life for the 2000 slaying.

Martin acknowledged the envelope contained foot powder when confronted by prison officials in Delaware, Police Chief Tim Bombardier said Thursday.

"Martin is known to us," said Bombardier, noting that over the years, he has received calls from police departments nationwide checking on Martin's claims to have information about other crimes. None has checked out.

Martin is being held in Delaware as part of an interstate compact that allows states to send some inmates elsewhere. He previously was held in New Mexico.

"This looks like his latest attempt to either change his living arrangements by getting transferred to another facility or returned to Vermont," Bombardier said. "Quite honestly, in light of his underlying sentence and the motivations behind it, it's unlikely we're going to charge him with this."

Bombardier said that while most inmate correspondence is monitored, correspondence with attorneys is not and that could be why the letter to a court did not receive more scrutiny.

Martin was arrested in October 2000 for strangling DeAndra Florucci and dumping her body off a bridge on a remote dirt road in Plainfield. He pleaded guilty in 2001.

The Delaware Department of Corrections referred questions about Martin to Vermont officials, who had no immediate comment.

"We're cooperating and in constant communication with them," Delaware prisons spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said.

In 2012, when Martin was held in New Mexico, he sent two men to kill Bieber, Bieber's bodyguard and two other people in Vermont. Martin later told investigators that he was upset with Bieber because the pop star didn't respond to any of his letters.

Martin persuaded a man he met in prison and the man's nephew to travel from New Mexico to the Northeast to carry out the killings. The plot ended when they inadvertently drove into Canada from Vermont and a check at a U.S. border post when they returned found that one of them was wanted by police in New Mexico.

Martin later pleaded guilty in that state to criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder.


Associated Press writer Russell Contreras contributed to this report from Albuquerque, New Mexico.