March 13, 2014
The lawyer for a former University of Virginia neurologist convicted of plotting to poison his ex-boss has asked a federal appeals court to overturn the conviction, arguing that key prosecution evidence was tainted.
Fifty-one-year-old Ray Mettetal Junior was convicted last year of possessing ricin, a plant toxin, to use as a weapon. He was sentenced to five years and five months in prison, which amounted to time served.
Prosecutors said Mettetal had a grudge against Vanderbilt University physician George Allen, because Allen had dashed Mettetal's dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon in Tennessee 11 years earlier. Mettetal denied planning to poison Allen.
Frederick Heblich is Mettetal's lawyer. He told a federal appeals court in Richmond Wednesday that evidence seized from a Harrisonburg storage unit, including chemicals, disguises and fake Ids, should NOT have been allowed in Mettetal's trial.