Anthrax hoaxer won't have to pay for substance testing

A man who sent police in Bettendorf, Iowa, a white powder he claimed was anthrax will not have to cover the state's cost of testing the substance.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated the $1,400 restitution order for America Haileselassie. Last year, Haileselassie was convicted of mailing threatening communications and sentenced to prison, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Prosecutors said Haileselassie sent Bettendorf police a letter that threatened a detective and closed with the words, "Enjoy the anthrax spores!"

The substance in the letter's envelope was tested and found to be a mixture of baby powder and carpet cleaner.

The court vacated the order that Haileselassie reimburse the State Hygienic Laboratory for the staff time it used in testing the substance because the costs are to be considered part of a criminal investigation for which no restitution can be awarded.

Haileselassie first landed in trouble with authorities when he threatened to blow up a metro station in Washington, D.C in 2004.

Haileselassie spent six years hospitalized under the care of mental health professionals. A psychiatrist testified that Haileselassie has an anti-social personality disorder. In a letter from jail, Haileselassie called the mental health system inadequate, according to

"I am really (a) harmless person who is struggling with mental ill(ness)," Haileselassie wrote, reports. "I feel like that I needed an extra boost of support while getting treatment. I am practically shy and very harmless."