A Philadelphia man has been sentenced to an unforgiving prison sentence for sending a romantic rival a birthday card laced with fatal poison.
According to the Huffington Post, the birthday card was a special scratch and sniff card, strategically poisoned with the infamous toxin ricin, which means almost certain death to anyone who comes in contact with it. On Monday, the man was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison for using the poisonous birthday card to seek revenge.
That man was Nicholas Herman, a 20-year-old from Hatboro. He reportedly cried when he said goodbye to his family before being taken off for an incredibly long prison sentence. He was allowed to hug his mom one last time, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He cried into her shoulder as she sobbed and said, “I’m so sorry.”
The man pleaded guilty to poisoning the birthday card, attempted aggravated assault, risking a catastrophe, and more. Herman plotted the birthday card murder to kill the man dating his ex-girlfriend. He bragged about the crime to a co-worker, who immediately informed the police.
Authorities were able to inform the target of the ricin-laced birthday card before he was able to open it, saving his life. Herman made the poison himself and laced the birthday card with a lethal dose of the stuff back in March of 2014. He then walked eight miles to hand-deliver the fatal birthday card to the residence of the man who stole his girlfriend.
Judge Alan Rubenstein determined that Nicholas Herman was wholly responsible for the crime and compared the murder plot to acts of terrorism.
“You are bright. You are articulate. You are responsive,” the judge said. “But I don’t think you appreciate the damage you have caused to people very close to you.”
But Herman’s murderous tendencies don’t stop with the birthday card. Eight months after he was arrested, Herman asked a fellow inmate to murder the detective investigating his case and “rip out the tongue” of the lawyer who was attempting to prosecute him. He threatened to injure witnesses and former co-workers as well.
Despite Herman’s relentlessly cruel intentions, he showed tearful remorse in the courtroom over the poison-laced birthday card and the subsequent threats.
“I wish I could turn back the clock,” he said. “I don’t know how or why my mind came to this awful decision.”
Herman reportedly considered using a ricin-laced cigarette to carry out the murder, which seems to be inspired by Walter White’s use of ricin in the show Breaking Bad, which you can read more about here.
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