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Anthrax Hoaxer Receives Four-Year Sentence

A California man was sentenced to four years and three months in prison yesterday following his conviction for conducting a campaign of anthrax hoaxes in 2008, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 14, 2008).

A federal jury in September found retired school teacher Marc Keyser guilty of three counts of committing an anthrax hoax and two charges of mailing threatening communications.

During the trial, Keyser said he hoped to illustrate the nation's vulnerability to bioterrorism by sending in excess of 100 sugar packets relabeled as "Anthrax sample" to media outlets, lawmakers and retailers. He was 66 at the time of the incidents.

A federal judge ruled yesterday that Keyser "may be dangerous to himself and others" and should be detained immediately, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office (Associated Press/Washington Post, April 26).

"He thinks he's a martyr and a messenger of God and a person above the law," U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. said during the sentencing hearing.

Keyser said he was "thankful no one was physically hurt or harmed" by the mailings, which also included compact discs with selections from his book, "Anthrax Shock and Awe Terror," the Sacramento Bee reported.

Damrell was unconvinced.

"The trial, the whole thing, you think you have been persecuted," the judge said (Denny Walsh, Sacramento Bee, April 27).

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