Detention hearing delayed in poison case

July 2, 2008 4:04:41 PM PDT
The man accused of possessing deadly puffer fish toxin appeared in court Wednesday. A suburban man accused of having a deadly toxin will remain in jail for at least a few more days. Edward Bachner IV was once investigated in a murder-for-hire plot, but many questions remain about this latest case.

Experts say the poison is 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. But federal prosecutors continue to play their cards close to the vest, not hinting Wednesday whether they believe Buchner intended to use the toxins, let alone who may have been a target.

Bachner has the support of relatives. His lawyers say their client has a positive relationship with his wife.

Edward Bachner might appear to be the picture of suburban happiness -- but federal investigators paint a much darker portrait.

"We're here to support the family because we love them, and I cannot make any comment beyond that at this time," said Jeff Block, family friend.

Edward Bachner's wife and nearly a dozen friends and family members made the drive to Rockford Wednesday only to learn that Bachner will be spending the Fourth of July weekend -- and maybe longer -- behind bars.

"This is extremely serious, he's taking at such, and he recognizes the gravity of the charges placed before him," said James Marcus, Bachner's attorney.

Bachner's attorney wouldn't say what a self-employed financial planner may want with a significant supply of a deadly toxin found in puffer fish. Investigators claim the 35-year-old Lake in the Hills man posed as a researcher and ordered at least 64 milligrams of the substance online.

FBI agents say they found syringes, six empty vials of the toxin and a how-to book on poisoning people inside in Bachner's home. They arrested him earlier this week when he allegedly went to pick up a fresh order at this Algonquin UPS store.

"These are just allegations, there is no proof of usage or anything of that nature," said Marcus.

In an odd twist that law enforcement has yet to fully explain, federal agents investigated Bachner two years ago for allegedly seeking to hire a hit man to kill an unidentified 32-year-old suburban Chicago woman.

Bachner's attorney wouldn't comment on how the two cases may be related, if at all.

"I haven't had the opportunity to thoroughly review the charges and discuss them with him in any depth, so it's a little premature for me to answer that question," said Marcus.

Bachner did not face charges in that murder for hire plot because investigators say they simply didn't have enough evidence. He'll be back in court on Monday. That's when we'll learn whether a judge will allow him to post bond.


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