Man Says He Had Ricin for Self-Defense

He admits having it in hotel, says he did not plan to hurt anyone
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 7:35 AM CDT
The Extended Stay America hotel is shown in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 6, 2008. The deadly toxin ricin was found at the hotel last month in Roger Bergendorff's room.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The Las Vegas man hospitalized by exposure to ricin in his hotel room told his brother he  did not intend to hurt anyone with it, the AP reports. Roger Bergendoff, who regained consciousness last week after a month, admitted possessing the biological agent but said it was for self-defense. "He just confirmed that it was not intended for anybody," said his brother. "It was something that would be used for his own purposes."

Nevada police have yet to say whether they will prosecute Bergendorff, but mere possession of ricin could land him in jail for 10 years; if he made the substance himself, he could be slapped with a life sentence. "He did talk as though he just had it there; he was almost kind of casual about it," Erich Bergendorff said.