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Despite wife’s support, man sentenced in plot to poison her

By Amanda Marrazzo, Chicago Tribune –

ROCKFORD, Ill. — A federal judge wished a suburban Chicago man “the best” Monday after sentencing him to nearly eight years in prison for illegally obtaining a deadly toxin through the mail and plotting to use it as a weapon.

Yet the woman who authorities said Edward F. Bachner IV intended to poison — his wife, Rebecca Bachner — was in court to support her husband and submitted a letter to the judge saying she “looks forward to their future together,” his attorney said.

“Rebecca wrote she loves her husband very much. He’s kind and caring and she feels safe with him,” defense lawyer Jeff Steinback told the judge, adding she’s forgiven her husband. “This has brought them closer to each other and to God.”

Edward Bachner, 39, was arrested in 2008 after special agents from an FBI terrorism unit raided his Lake in the Hills home wearing biohazard suits. They found needles and syringes; vials of TTX, the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin; two passports; a phony CIA identification; a hand grenade; a pistol; and 50 knives, authorities said.

Bachner pleaded guilty last year to possession of a biological agent in the bizarre plot, in which authorities said he posed as a doctor to obtain large quantities of TTX from sources that include puffer fish, which naturally produce the poison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Karner portrayed Bachner as having “lived two lives,” appearing outwardly as a happily married man while secretly plotting as far as back as 2005 to kill his wife. Bachner had set up a secret website, diverted money from mortgage payments to pay for the poison, filed false tax returns and took out a $20 million life insurance policy on his wife, for which he pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge.

Karner noted that Bachner has never revealed what happened to the empty TTX vials found in his home. A toxins experts has also said the quantities Bachner obtained could have killed dozens of people.

Yet Steinback, Bachner’s lawyer, asserted that his client was living in a “fantasy world” that he created to escape lifelong “personal demons” and insecurities that were rooted in childhood bullying and were exacerbated by career and financial setbacks.

Bachner himself tearfully told the judge that he was “extremely remorseful” for his actions, vowed to become “the husband my love of my life deserves,” and said the couple hopes to have children one day.

“The love story Becca and I have shared over 21 years has never been more strong, more solid,” he said. “ … There’s no one I’m more honored to call my best friend and my wife.”

Bachner was sentenced to 92 months in prison but given credit for more than four years he’s been behind bars since his arrest. He was also ordered to pay the government more than $500,000 in restitution.

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