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Man Gets 7 1/2 Years For Trying To Poison Wife With Pufferfish Toxin

Japanese pufferfish (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

Japanese pufferfish (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (STMW) — A north suburban man was sentenced to more than seven years in prison Monday for attempting to use puffer fish toxin to poison his wife.

Edward F. Bachner, of Lake in the Hills, pleaded guilty in August 2011 to federal charges of possession of the neurotoxin Tetrodotoxin with the intent to use it as a weapon, wire fraud and filing a false tax claim, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

On Monday, Bachner was sentenced to 92 months in federal prison, U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn said. He was given credit for time spent in custody since his arrest.

Bachner was arrested June 30, 2008, and charged with unlawfully acquiring and possessing Tetrodotoxin to use as a weapon on five separate occasions between Nov. 7, 2006, and June 30, 2008, according to federal prosecutors, who noted he possessed a quantity that was not reasonably justified for use as a prophylactic or protective, nor for bona fide research or other peaceful purposes.

Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin with no known antidote and can only be treated with supportive therapy in an attempt to lessen the severity of symptoms, prosecutors said. The drug is naturally found in certain animal species, including puffer fish, and has a historical fatality rate of 50 to 60 percent.

On June 16, 2009, Bachner was charged in a superseding indictment that added six new counts: one count of wire fraud alleging he engaged in a scheme to obtain the drug to kill a person to collect $20 million in life insurance; one count of soliciting another in 2005 to commit a felony involving the use of force; one count of using an interstate facility for murder for hire in 2005; and three counts of filing false claims for federal income tax refunds.

Bachner admitted in a plea agreement that he fraudulently purchased a $20 million life insurance policy on a person he planned to poison, the release said. He also admitted filing false federal income tax returns for 2005 through 2007.

That person he planned to poison was later identified as his wife.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)