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Jay Dortzbach, KSL TV

Utah man who allegedly mailed ricin to White House to remain behind bars

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Updated - Oct. 15, 2018 at 2:28 p.m. | Posted - Oct. 15, 2018 at 1:42 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Logan man who allegedly mailed ricin to President Donald Trump and other government leaders will remain behind bars after a judge deemed him a danger to the community Monday.

Noting William Clyde Allen III has previously sent threatening letters to the CIA and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, the judge cited concern for the 39-year-old man's "escalating nature" of his alleged actions.

"This may be part of large pattern of concern on your part about the government," U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead told him during a detention hearing in federal court.

Allen, 39, made a few indiscernible comments about the legality of mailing beans and government radiation attacks before his public defender and the judge advised him to not say anything.

During an initial court appearance last week, Allen tearfully explained that he couldn't remain in custody because he was looking forward to watching general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and needs to care for his disabled wife.

Allen's wife, who was in a wheelchair, and other family members were in the courtroom Monday. He mouthed "I love you" to her as marshals escorted him out after the hearing.

Allen allegedly sent letters to Trump, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and U.S. Navy Adm. John M. Richardson containing "small pieces of what appeared to be castor beans and a note with the same message, 'Jack and the Missile Bean Stock Powder,'" according to court documents.

Prosecutors say preliminary field tests of the letters came back positive for ricin, a deadly poison made from castor beans.

Pead told Allen that his cooperation with investigators doesn't reflect the "sinister nature" of the contents of the letters, but those contents can't be ignored.


The judge commended Allen for his honorable military service. He noted from the pretrial report that some servicemen severely assaulted Allen, leaving him with a head injury. Allen served in the Navy from 1998 to 2000.

The investigation started last week after letters addressed to some of Washington's top leaders and containing possible ricin were discovered at a shipping office. The letters did not actually enter the White House or the Pentagon.

FBI investigators were led to Allen's home in Logan because he put his return address on all the letters, court documents state.

When interviewed by FBI agents earlier this week, Allen claimed to have also sent letters with castor beans to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Queen Elizabeth II and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the complaint.

Allen further explained that he had purchased approximately 100 castor beans from eBay and that he had done research on ricin and castor beans, the complaint states.

When asked why he purchased the beans, Allen said "he wanted to have them in case World War III broke out" and further elaborated that "he could make them useful, to bear arms and to defend our nation."

A criminal complaint filed last Friday accuses Allen of knowingly threatening to use a biological weapon and four counts of mailing a threat. A federal grand jury will now consider the allegations Wednesday to decide whether a formal indictment should be filed.

Allen is scheduled to appear in court again Thursday.

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