Oregon suspect in anthrax hoax conducted secret jail correspondence

Two high-profile Oregon crime suspects - a man accused of an anthrax hoax and a woman accused of a three-state killing spree - recently started a secret relationship in the Columbia County jailhouse.

Andrew Laud Barnett allegedly sent letters containing white powder to several buildings in Portland, including the office of Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen F. Peifer, the Lloyd Center mall, the Port of Portland's office at the airport and the downtown Hilton. The FBI determined that the powder was non-toxic and alleged Barnett was the sender. Barnett was moved to the Columbia County Jail during the investigation, the Oregonian reports.

Barnett was issued a pencil with orange lead so that jailers would know if he was writing threatening correspondence. He received permission to use the library so that he could prepare to defend himself against federal charges. After shouting through a ventilation shaft connected to the women's housing unit, he made contact with Holly Grigsby.

Grigsby, who is suspected of killing four people in three states with her boyfriend, David "Joey" Pederson, began an elaborate correspondence scheme with Barnett. The scheme was found out when a jailer found a four-page letter from Barnett, which included a racist rant against the African American federal judge presiding over their cases and sexually explicit language.

Government prosecutors argued last week that by violating his library privileges, Barnett no longer deserved to represent himself. They said he would find another loophole to keep the letters coming.

"I don't consider my constitutional rights a loophole," Barnett said, according to the Oregonian. "Cutting off my law library privileges, that's cutting me off from Holly Grigsby. That's the only way I can communicate with her."

Senior U.S. District Judge Ancer L. Haggerty ruled that Barnett can continue to represent himself, the Oregonian reports.