A Bangor, Maine man is facing life in prison for mailing potassium cyanide to a suicidal man living in the U.K. 54-year-old Sidney Kilmartin first came into contact with 49-year-old Andrew Denton when Denton tried to purchase cyanide from him over the Internet. Kilmartin had apparently been operating a fraudulent site in which he represented himself as an "angel of mercy" who sold cyanide to suicidal customers but actually sent them Epsom salts instead.
When Denton first purchased what he believed to be cyanide from Kilmartin and discovered the fraud, he threatened to go to police. To prevent this from happening, Kilmartin sent the real cyanide which Denton then used to commit suicide at his home in Hull, Yorkshire in 2012. His body was found by his niece on New Year's Eve and he was believed to have been suffering from depression. A toxicology report confirmed that he had died of cyanide poisoning and a coroner's inquest ruled that his death was due to suicide.
Kilmartin first obtained the cyanide by posing as a jeweler and persuading a chemical distributor in California to sell him 100 grams of potassium cyanide for $127.56. He then posted an advertisement on a web site for suicidal people offering "industrial grade cyanide" that would be a "a painless and quick way to commit suicide." In all, he received $1050 by selling the cyanide to five customers in all. He was arrested last year over charges that he swindled Denton and the other customers.
during the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank told the court that "Sidney Kilmartin targeted vulnerable people who were depressed to the point of suicide to take advantage of... When Andrew Denton had the audacity to complain that Mr Kilmartin had defrauded and taken advantage of him, Mr Kilmartin killed him." Though admitting to the fraud, his attorney cast doubt on the prosecution's case regarding his client's role in Andrew Denton's death. While already pleading guilty to mail fraud and wire fraud, Kilmartin has now been found guilty of mailing "injurious articles resulting in death and witness tampering."
Sentencing has not been scheduled to date.