The 53-year-old Mettetal
now lives in Johnson City, Tenn., and has since practiced medicine only through his
church,s missionary work in Mexico.Mettetal hopes to again practice in the United States, but argues that his
reputation is tainted, and that the public believes he
was freed on a technicality.Mettetal
filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville this week asking that the powder police discovered in a storage locker in Harrisonburg be tested on mice.Mouse testing, Mettetal
said, is the ,gold standard, of toxicology testing.
,I want something done on this,, Mettetal
said in a telephone interview.
The doctor said he
would foot the bill for the tests and has already found an independent lab in New Jersey that would conduct the analysis.The FBI
now holds the substance, Mettetal
said, and authorities have refused further tests, citing safety concerns involved in shipping the powder.
Federal prosecutors declined to comment.
,Why have they opposed this?They have fought this tooth and nail,, Mettetal
was arrested in August 1995 on the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville and charged with trespassing.He
was wearing a wig, fake beard, padded suit and shoes with lifts.Mettetal
carried false identification and a large syringe containing saline solution, boric acid and other chemicals.
Authorities said Mettetal
sought to kill Allen, chief of neurosurgery at Vanderbilt, for not giving him the recommendations he
would need to pursue a career as a brain surgeon.Mettetal settled for being a neurologist, a doctor who treats brain problems but doesn,t operate.
was indicted on the federal charges in 1996, he
was assisting in brain surgery at a private practice in Harrisonburg.He
was also charged with attempted murder in Nashville.Mettetal
testified at a 1998 trial in federal court that he
was simply playing out a fantasy to release anger in the ,harmless, plot to kill Allen.Prosecutors said he
stalked the doctor, read books describing how to kill and concocted a batch of ricin - an odorless, tasteless and extremely toxic poison derived from castor bean seeds.A jury convicted Mettetal, and Judge James H. Michael Jr. sentenced the doctor to 10 years in prison.
One year later, a judge in Nashville ruled that Mettetal
should not have been arrested because the Vanderbilt campus is open to the public and university police had insufficient cause to arrest Mettetal
on trespassing charges.
As a result of the ruling, the attempted murder charge was dropped.The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond also tossed the federal convictions against Mettetal
, ruling that the poison and other evidence discovered in searches subsequent to the arrest couldn,t be used against him.
At a retrial in 2001, the defense disputed that the powder in Mettetal
,s locker was ricin.A defense expert testified that he
could not be sure, and suspected it could be from another plant or be a non-toxic form of ground-up castor beans.Mettetal
was convicted again, however, and sentenced to five years and five months in prison, the bulk of which he
had already served.
In September 2002, the doctor filed another appeal, arguing that the evidence in the second trial shouldn,t have been allowed.The court agreed, overturning his
conviction and barring any future use of the evidence against Mettetal
lawyers ,time and time again, to have the powder tested but said they were focused on arguing his
is certain that toxicity tests will prove the ,bean dust, is not deadly.
,Basically, I am confident and I,ve always been confident that I,ve been falsely accused,, he