Layman sentenced to 37 months in ricin case

Ponca City Now - June 27, 2018 10:56 am

OKLAHOMA CITY –  Danielle Dana Layman, 38, of Ponca City, has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for possessing the toxin ricin, announced Robert J. Troester, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.  
According to a complaint filed on July 1, 2017, Layman used craigslist to locate someone interested in a “10 day gig overseas.”  

On May 9, 2017, Layman met in Ponca City with a person who responded to the craigslist post.  According to the affidavit, Layman gave that person written instructions on traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel, and using ricin to poison a specific taxi driver in exchange for $4,000 plus expenses.  The affidavit states that Layman also gave the person a baggie that she claimed contained the ricin to be used in the murder.  Ricin is an extremely hazardous substance derived from castor beans.
On June 30, 2017, the FBI executed a search warrant at Layman’s residence in Ponca City and found castor beans in the kitchen.  The complaint alleges agents also found a mortar and pestle with residue that could be remnants of ground castor beans, along with instructions on how to make ricin.  Layman was arrested later that day.
On Aug. 1, 2017, a grand jury indicted Layman on one count of using interstate communications with the intent to hire someone to commit murder.  On Oct. 3, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added one count of possessing ricin without the required registration.
Layman pleaded guilty to possessing ricin illegally on Feb. 8, 2018.  The government agreed to dismiss the murder-for-hire count at sentencing.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, United States District Court Judge Robin J. Cauthron ordered Layman to serve 37 months in prison, the top of the advisory range under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.  

The court noted that because she prepared ricin in her home, she put her own children at risk. After release from prison, Layman will be under supervision for three years.
“Keeping citizens safe is a top priority for federal law enforcement, Troester said. “I appreciate the FBI’s diligence in its thorough investigation of cases involving ricin and other substances that can be used as weapons.”
This sentence is the result of an investigation by the FBI. 

“Through the careful and methodical investigation conducted by agents of the FBI Oklahoma City Division, we were able to show the true callous and malicious nature to Ms. Layman’s crimes,” FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Kate Peterson said.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashley L. Altshuler and David P. Petermann, with assistance from the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.


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