Court orders competency exam for man who tried to buy radioactive material

Court orders competency exam for man who tried to buy radioactive material
Dane County Sheriff's Office
Jeremy Ryan

A judge in the Western District of Wisconsin ordered a competency exam for a man suspected of attempting to buy radioactive material.

Jeremy J. Ryan, 30, from the Town of Madison, was charged with attempting to possess radioactive material with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury.

Ryan was charged with the offense in a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court on Oct. 25. According to the news release, federal law requires that felony offenses be charged by an indictment returned by a grand jury within 30 days of the date a criminal complaint is filed.

Court orders competency exam for man who tried to buy radioactive material

On Tuesday, a judge ordered that there be a local psychiatric evaluation of Ryan to determine whether or he’s competent to stand trial, court officials said.

According to the criminal complaint, Ryan tried to buy the material from an undercover FBI agent online in an effort to kill an unnamed man. The undercover FBI agent received a private message on the marketplace March 16 regarding radioactive substances he had for sale. Ryan allegedly wrote that he was looking for something “preferably … that is not going to be extremely brutal and drawn out. But the main quality is that it is extremely difficult to procure so that people automatically suspect the government.”

Ryan has also claimed that he bought the radioactive material as a backup plan, in case his cancer returned, to end his life, according to a judge’s detention order at the time of his arrest.

Ryan has been in federal custody since his arrest in Black Earth on Oct. 24. If convicted, Ryan faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison, court officials said.

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