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Edward F. Bachner, Puffer Fish Poison Suspect, Could Plead Guilty To Possessing Biological Weapon

First Posted: 07/28/11 11:54 AM ET Updated: 09/27/11 06:12 AM ET

Edward Bachner

Ordinarily, it wouldn't be that strange for a defendant and his wife to mouth "I love you" to each other during a high-profile court case.

But when that defendant is on trial for amassing a stockpile of a highly lethal neurotoxin with the intent of killing his wife and taking $20 million in life insurance, professions of love seem a little more unusual.

Still, that's exactly what transpired between Edward F. Bachner IV and his wife as Bachner pleaded not guilty at a hearing last month.

That plea might change soon, however: the suburban Chicago Daily Herald reports that attorneys from both sides appear to be nearing a plea agreement.

Bachner is charged with multiple counts of possessing a biological toxin with intent to use it as a weapon, charges that have a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was arrested in 2008 by federal officials after allegedly attempting to buy 98 milligrams of tetrodotoxin -- the poison found in puffer fish, 1000 times more lethal than cyanide -- through the website of a New Jersey chemical company.

Upon searching his home, investigators say they found 45 more vials of the poison, as well as 50 knives, various other weapons, and a fake CIA badge, among other notable items NBC Chicago reports.

Prosecutors argue that Bachner was amassing the toxins as part of a plan to kill his wife, and claim the enormous life insurance policy that protects her.

A hearing where the plea deal is expected to be announced has been set for August 2.

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Filed by Will Guzzardi  |