Ohio man pleads not guilty to ricin possession

Jeff Boyd Levenderis, who is being kept on suicide watch at least until his February 15 federal court hearing, pleaded not guilty to indictments of possession of a biological toxin and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Federal and local authorities arrested Levenderis after the deadly toxin ricin was found in his residence in Coventry Township, Ohio, according to Ohio.com.

Edward G. Bryan, Levenderis’ attorney, said in a district court in Akron that Levenderis was not threat to anyone and should be released. A decision on the subject will not be reached until February 15, as per the wishes of Magistrate William Baughman.

Former police officer Robert Coffman was called to testify about Levenderis, Ohio.com reports. Coffman, who had hoped to buy Levenderis’ home in part because he had lived there 20 years ago, was inside the filthy house and found Levenderis in bed.

"He hadn't eaten anything in more than a week...and he couldn't get out of bed,'' Coffman said, according to Ohio.com.

Coffman gained Levenderis’ trust and even helped him find a nursing home to live in. Coffman also worked on cleaning trash from the property.

While in the house together one day, Levenderis referred to a coffee can in the freezer and warned Coffman not to touch it. The can was labeled “ant  poison.” Coffman eventually discovered it contained ricin, according to Ohio.com.

On January 24, Coffman reported the find to the Coventry Fire Department, which then alerted the Summit County sheriff and federal authorities. The same day, the substance was taken to Maryland where it tested positive as ricin.

A federal affidavit says that Levenderis made the ricin a decade ago, but Coffman says he was told it was three years ago. The affidavit also says Levenderis made the poison using easily obtained products and directions from the internet.