Bruce Ivins, the late microbiologist suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks, had attempted to poison people and his therapist said she was “scared to death” of him, according to court testimony that emerged Saturday.
Social worker Jean Duley testified at a court hearing in Frederick on July 24 in a successful bid for a protective order from Ivins – who five days later committed suicide – that he “actually attempted to murder several other people.”
Ivins took a fatal dose of Tylenol as federal authorities monitored his movements and prepared to charge him with the murder of five people who died from anthrax poisoning in the weeks after the Sept. 2001 terror attacks.
An audio recording of the court session was obtained by The New York Times, which posted it on its Web site.
“As far back as the year 2000, the respondent has actually attempted to murder several other people, either through poisoning. He is a revenge killer. When he feels that he's been slighted or has had – especially toward women – he plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings,” Duley said.
She added that Ivins “has been forensically diagnosed by several top psychiatrists as a sociopathic, homicidal killer. I have that in evidence. And through my working with him, I also believe that to be very true.”
Ivins, 62, who worked at an Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, took his own life Tuesday as federal authorities were closing in after investigating him for more than a year in connection with the deaths of five people poisoned by anthrax sent through the mail.
Answers to one of the nation's highest profile unsolved mysteries are in documents that could be released as early as this week – and help explain how the government chased the wrong suspect for years.
Prosecutors were mulling this weekend whether to close the anthrax poisoning investigation, possibly as early as Monday or Tuesday. If that happens, court documents detailing newly developed scientific evidence that recently led the government to Ivins may be unsealed.
Five people died and 17 others were sickened when anthrax-laced letters began showing up at congressional offices, newsrooms and post offices soon after Sept. 11, 2001.
After wrongly investigating Army scientist Steven Hatfill, the FBI more than a year ago began looking at Ivins, who worked at the same military lab. Ivins, a decorated scientist who was working on an anthrax cure, killed himself last Tuesday.
FBI scientists were able to isolate strains used in the attacks, and determined they were not as common as previously thought. And that led investigators to Ivins.
Had the same process been available years ago, it would have cleared Hatfill much earlier, according to two people familiar with the FBI investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is not officially closed.
David Franz, a former commander of the Army's lab biological warfare labs at Fort Detrick, Md., where Ivins worked, said Saturday he thought it was “very important that the FBI present their case against Bruce and not just state that the investigation was over because it was him and he's gone.”