Utah Veteran with History of Making Threats Arrested For Sending a Biological Toxin to Government

A Utah veteran with a history of making threats against government officials was arrested after he sent letters to the President, the Pentagon, and a Texas Senator containing a substance that tested positive for a biological toxin.

Disgruntled citizen

Photo by: Andy Rennie

39 year old William Clyde Allen III of Logan, Utah who is a former member of the United States Navy was arrested on multiple federal charges after he sent envelopes containing crushed up castor beans, the source of the biological toxin ricin, to government and state officials. Allen also claimed to have sent similar letters to top officials in other countries as well. This wasn’t Allen’s first threat against the government. Within the last four years, Allen has also made death threats against the President and a threat of mass destruction against a military base in Texas. During the most recent incident involving the mailed substance, Allen undeniably went too far and is now facing federal charges of threatening to use a biological toxin.

Biological weapons

While Allen’s previous threats turned out to be nothing more than him taking a troubling approach to expressing frustration, they have now escalated from verbal and written intimidation to threats accompanied by a deliberate action to cause injury or death. 18 U.S. Code § 175 states “Whoever knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers, acquires, retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon, or knowingly assists a foreign state or any organization to do so, or attempts, threatens, or conspires to do the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years or both.”

Lack of mental clarity

While Allen could be facing life in federal prison for his biological attack, some question Allen’s mental awareness and whether or not he fully understands the gravity of the situation. For starters, he didn’t actually obtain the poison ricin. What he had was castor beans that he bought off the internet and sloppily ground up and distributed to random government officials. Accompanying the chunky powder substance, which wasn’t harmful in its current state, were notes that appeared to make a nod toward the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. Additionally, Allen seemed more upset at missing his weekend plans than he did to spending his life in federal prison. His behavior doesn’t necessarily reflect someone who intended the worst with a biological weapon. Hopefully the penalty for this outlandish scheme includes a mental health evaluation and the necessary psychological help he so obviously needs.

Utah Man to Mental Hospital after Attempted Murder

A Utah man is on his way to the state mental hospital for a spell before serving time in prison for attempted murder of a fellow motorcyclist.

Traffic violation or attempted murder charge?

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

In August of 2013, 57 year old James Alan Reynolds of Enoch Utah refused to stop for a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The short chase ended with Reynolds crashing his motorcycle into a car, but not before he fired a series of random shots at another motorcyclist. 21 year old Austin Sharp of Santa Clara Utah, who had no known affiliations with Reynolds, was shot twice in the back.

Random and almost deadly

Reynolds was originally facing multiple charges including discharging a firearm from a vehicle and fleeing from police, but it was ultimately decided last week that he will serve time for the more serious of his offenses, attempted murder of the young fellow motorcyclist Austin Sharp.

First stop, mental hospital

Photo by: floodllama

Photo by: floodllama

Since Reynolds was determined not mentally ready to be added to the prison population, he will be spending an indefinite amount of time in the Utah State Mental Hospital. If ever it is decided that he is of sound mind, he will be transferred to the Utah State Prison to serve his time for attempted murder.

1st Degree Felony

Attempted murder by causing serious bodily injury during the felony discharge of a weapon is a 1st degree felony, and punishable by up to life in prison. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Reynolds was clearly not mentally healthy when he made the choice to shoot at a random person, and now two lives are changed forever. For more information on any criminal charges call an experienced defense attorney. For issues pertaining to mental health that could lead to criminal charges, contact the Utah Mental Health Services in your area.