Retired N.Y. pharmacist pleads guilty in chemical attack case

A retired pharmacist from Ulster County, New York, pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges of product tampering and using and possessing chemical weapons.

Martin Kimber admitted to spreading liquid mercury around Albany Medical Center on four separate occasions. The substance was found in cafeteria food, which one person ate, necessitating emergency treatment, WNYT-TV reports.

"What he was endeavoring to do was to cause panic at the hospital so that individuals would be afraid of gaining treatment there and stop coming," Craig Benedict, the assistant U.S. attorney, said, according to WNYT-TV.

The mercury was found in the men's bathroom, the hallway and the basement, but it was also under a heating lamp and in a toaster, which could have resulted in the more dangerous inhalable form of the substance.

An investigation of Kimber's house revealed canisters of mercury, 21 guns, literature sympathetic to terrorism and Nazi symbols.

"This is all a reaction to the anthrax scare, and the bombing in Oklahoma City," James Long, Kimber's attorney, said, according to WNYT-TV. "Congress passed these tough laws and Martin Kimber got caught in this situation that, as I said, he regrets getting involved in."

Kimber was angry about a payment dispute for prior treatment at the hospital. Long said that Kimber meant to embarrass the hospital and did not want to hurt anybody.

Kimber will receive his sentencing in March, WNYT-TV reports.