BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A 70-year-old woman accused of manufacturing the deadly toxin ricin and testing it on fellow residents at a retirement community has pleaded guilty to possessing it.
Betty Miller, who has an extensive mental health history, was arrested last November after telling investigators she made ricin at her home at the Wake Robin community in Shelburne because she wanted to injure herself, the FBI said.
A federal complaint said Miller told investigators she tested the ricin’s effectiveness by putting it in residents’ food or drinks. No one became seriously ill from consuming the ricin, which is found naturally in castor beans and can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains and kidney and liver problems.
Miller said she harvested 30 to 40 castor beans from plants growing on Wake Robin’s property and made two or three tablespoons of ricin twice in her kitchen and exposed residents to the ricin on at least three occasions, the federal complaint said.
Miller entered her plea on Friday. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of time served with a recommendation for three years of supervised release to include placement at a secure mental health treatment facility. A judge must approve the deal.