Chris Gordon, Bill Hennessy
The defense and prosecution argued Tuesday over whether the Georgetown University ricin suspect should be released while he waits for trial. (Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy.)
A Georgetown University student accused of making ricin in his dorm room will remain behind bars at least until his next court date, a judge ruled.
The family of Daniel Milzman, a freshman from Bethesda, Md., had gone to federal court hoping to get the 19-year-old released while he awaits trial for possessing a biological toxin.
But federal prosecutors had argued there are no conditions under which he can safely be released. A prosecutor argued Milzman should be kept in custody as a danger to the community, saying ricin is lethal.
After making the powder, Milzman went to his resident adviser and showed him what he had made, investigators said in court documents.
Milzman's motive for making ricin was ambiguous, prosecutors said. He either wanted to use it to commit suicide or harm someone else -- a Georgetown student with whom Milzman didn’t get along. Both had asked the university to order the other to stay away.
Prosecutors said Milzman taunted the other student on Facebook, posting, "You would be more use to the world if you were chemically dismembered and your parts sold to a lab."
Milzman's attorney said he never intended to hurt anyone else. Milzman's honesty with his resident adviser was a "cry for help" from a scared 19-year-old kid, the attorney said.
Milzman’s family has made arrangements with Sibley Hospital for him to undergo two weeks of psychiatric evaluation.
Milzman graduated from Walt Whitman High School with honors in 2012.