Investigators close arsenic investigation in Maine |

Investigators close arsenic investigation in Maine

Associated Press Writer

BANGOR, Maine – Nearly three years after parishioners drank arsenic-laced coffee at a church in northern Maine, detectives said they have decided that the only person to be implicated acted alone.Daniel Bondeson, a church member, committed suicide days after the poisonings on April 27, 2003, that killed one person and sickened 15.State police had believed Bondeson might have had an accomplice when he poisoned the coffee at Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden.But investigators said Tuesday they learned during grand jury proceedings late last year that Bondeson told his lawyer the day before he killed himself that he acted alone.They said the approaching anniversary seemed like the appropriate time to publicly announce that the investigation was closed.Lawyer Peter Kelley had long sought to inform police about what Bondeson had told him, but was constrained by attorney-client privilege that remained in force even after his 53-year-old client’s death.He eventually testified before a grand jury, and he broke his silence on Tuesday after learning that the investigation was concluded.In a statement to The Associated Press, Kelley said Bondeson told him that he mixed the liquid contents from a five-gallon can from his farm into the coffee urn.Kelley said Bondeson told him he acted in retaliation because he felt that church members did not like him and that someone had once put “chemicals” into his coffee, giving him a bout of stomach discomfort.But Bondeson also told him he did not know the container contained arsenic, and that he didn’t intend serious harm, the lawyer said.”He did not indicate that anyone else was involved and my distinct impression was that he had done this on his own,” Kelley added in the statement.The day after talking to Kelley, Bondeson died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. The state medical examiner ruled that it was suicide.Vail, Colorado

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