Siloam Man Convicted of Mailing White Powder Threats
A federal jury convicted a Siloam Springs man Thursday of 56 felony counts of sending threatening letters and white powder through the mail to several locations in Northwest Arkansas, including to his former employer, according to U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge.
Each count is punishable by up to five years in prison, Eldridge said.
Philip G. Hanson sent envelopes containing baking soda to his former coworkers at DaySpring in Siloam Springs and to other locations in late 2011, prosecutors said. He was charged with 57 counts of using the mail to send threats.
Thirty-one of those involved white-powder letters, Eldridge said.
Hanson was found guilty on all counts except one and will be sentenced at a later date, Eldridge said. Hanson faces up to five years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The trial, which began Monday in Fayetteville before U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren, ended with the guilty verdict just before 5 p.m. Thursday. Jury deliberations began Thursday at about noon. Hanson served as his own attorney during the trial.
In March a grand jury indictment was filed listing 57 counts against Hanson.
In addition to sending letters with white powder to DaySpring, Hanson also sent powder to people at Har-Ber High School in Springdale and to Siloam Springs High School, among other places, the indictment states.
Schools in Siloam Springs, Fayetteville, Springdale and Bentonville were evacuated because of Hanson’s letters, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Eldridge said the threat of receiving the deadly substance anthrax terrorizes communities and allows prosecutors to seek felony charges against someone sending white powder.