A Madison man maintains his alleged attempt at acquiring a radioactive substance was intended to help him potentially commit suicide, not to hurt others.
Federal Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker ruled Monday that there was probable cause to believe 30-year-old Jeremy Ryan tried to purchase Polonium-210 to cause harm, or to kill someone. Crocker also ruled Ryan would remain jailed, because he presented a risk to the community and is also a flight risk.
Ryan’s public defender Joseph Bugni said by the time Ryan arranged for an online purchase this month of Polonium-210 from what turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, Ryan’s intention was to use the radioactive substance as a back-up plan to commit suicide. Bugni and Ryan’s supporters say Ryan has a cancer that is in remission.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Anderson said Ryan’s initial, on-line connection with the undercover agent in March included Ryan’s statements he was prepared to kill someone with the substance. Anderson also said Ryan wanted a rare material so as to create suspicion of government involvement in any death.
Ryan picked up a package containing what he thought was Polonium-210 at a Madison UPS store last week. Ryan, previously known as a persistent Capitol presence during the 2011 Act 10 protests, was arrested a short time later after he went to the Shoe Box retail store in Black Earth. Anderson said the package was in Ryan’s car.