Man charged with mailing cyanide denied bail

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2014 5:32 PM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge denied bail Monday to a Maine man who has been charged with sending poison to a depressed Englishman who used it to kill himself.

Sidney Kilmartin faced a detention hearing in federal court in Bangor, a little more than a month after his arrest. He is accused of sending potassium cyanide to Andrew Denton, who was found dead in December 2012 in his home in Hull, England.

Kilmartin, of Windham, which is about 15 miles northwest of Portland, has pleaded not guilty to mailing injurious articles and mailing injurious articles resulting in death. He could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Kilmartin's case will move to discovery and later trial, U.S. Attorney's office spokesman Don Clark said. Halsey Frank, the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, said Justice John Nivison ordered Kilmartin held without bail because there was no way to "assure the safety of the community given he mailed cyanide that someone used to kill themselves."

Frank added that there was also no way to assure Kilmartin's presence for trial if he was released. A reporter's phone call to Kilmartin's attorney, James Billings of Augusta, was not immediately returned.

Kilmartin was committed to a psychiatric facility in 2008 after he was found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity for entering a man's apartment and attacking him while he slept. He was released in 2011. Clark declined to comment on whether Kilmartin's history played a role in the decision to seek detention without bail.

Authorities haven't said how Kilmartin got the poison or how he and Denton found each other. English police have said Kilmartin and Denton exchanged emails in which Kilmartin offered to sell Denton cyanide and gave him advice on using it.

Potassium cyanide is a highly toxic salt that looks like sugar. Swallowing the substance causes nausea and vomiting and can swiftly kill a person.