Anthrax scare at Vermont courthouse
MONTPELIER >> A Vermont inmate who once hatched a plot in a New Mexico prison to kill pop singer Justin Bieber was behind an anthrax scare at a courthouse where he was sentenced for killing a 15-year-old girl, police said Thursday.
The courthouse in Barre received an envelope Wednesday containing white powder and a note claiming it was anthrax. The envelope was marked as inmate correspondence from a Delaware prison where Dana Martin is serving 35 years to life for the 2000 slaying.
When confronted by prison officials in Delaware, Martin acknowledged that the envelope contained foot powder, Police Chief Tim Bombardier said.
Martin, 48, is being held in Delaware as part of an interstate compact that allows states to send some inmates elsewhere. He previously was held in New Mexico.
"This looks like his latest attempt to either change his living arrangements by getting transferred to another facility or returned to Vermont," Bombardier said. "Quite honestly, in light of his underlying sentence and the motivations behind it, it's unlikely we're going to charge him with this."
It couldn't immediately be determined if Martin has an attorney. The last time he was in court in Vermont, he represented himself.
Bombardier said that while most inmate correspondence is monitored, correspondence with attorneys is not and that could be why the letter to a court did not receive more scrutiny.
Powders sent through the mail have been cause for concern since at least 2001, when anthrax-tainted letters were sent to media outlets and offices, leading to a handful of deaths.
Martin was arrested in October 2000 on charges he strangled DeAndra Florucci and dumped her body off a bridge on a remote dirt road in Plainfield. He pleaded guilty in 2001.
Mike Touchette, the director of facility operations for the Vermont Corrections Department, said it would be up to Delaware officials to monitor Martin's actions in their prison.
"We have no influence around the security practices of the Delaware Department of Corrections," Touchette said.
The Delaware Department of Corrections said it had been cooperating with Vermont officials in the investigation.
In 2012, when Martin was held in New Mexico, he sent two men to kill Bieber, Bieber's bodyguard and two other people in Vermont. Martin, who was infatuated with Bieber and even had a tattoo of the pop star on his leg, later told investigators that he was upset with Bieber for not responding to any of his letters.
Martin persuaded a man he met in prison and the man's nephew to travel from New Mexico to the Northeast to carry out the killings. The plot ended when they inadvertently drove into Canada from Vermont and a check at a U.S. border post when they returned found that one of them was wanted by police in New Mexico.
Martin later pleaded guilty in that state to criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
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