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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Oklahoma

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Possession of Ricin Results in 37 Months in Prison

OKLAHOMA CITY –  DANIELLE DANA LAYMAN, 38, of Ponca City, Oklahoma, 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, she 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 August 1, 2017, a grand jury indicted Layman on one count of using interstate communications with the intent to hire someone to commit murder.  On October 3, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment that added one count of possessing ricin without the required registration.

On February 8, 2018, Layman pleaded guilty to possessing ricin illegally.  The government agreed to dismiss the murder-for-hire count at sentencing.

At today’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.  I appreciate the FBI’s diligence in its thorough investigation of cases involving ricin and other substances that can be used as weapons," said Acting U.S. Attorney Troester.

This sentence is the result of an investigation by the FBI.  FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Kate Peterson said: "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."

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.

Reference is made to court records for further information.

Updated June 27, 2018