Lubbock Plague Trial Conclusion – Butler guilty of 47 counts.

Alerted by Sleepless in Midland, who has been keeping a frequently updated page on the trial, here’s the outcome:

A jury this afternoon found Thomas Butler guilty on 47 counts.

Butler, 62, stood accused of smuggling, lying to the FBI, embezzlement, theft and tax fraud in a case stemming from the January bioterrorism scare at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

Butler, a world-renowned plague researcher, reported 30 vials of the bacteria that causes plague missing from his TTUHSC lab Jan 14.

More than 60 federal agents scoured Lubbock in search of the vials, and President Bush was briefed on the presumably stolen samples that were capable of weaponization in 48 hours by terrorists.

Dr. Butler was not, apparently, a sympathetic defendant. I suppose now Tech will finally get around to firing him.

All that remains is the sentencing, and that will be interesting. A 62 year old Professor of Medicine will probably spend a lot of time in a minimum-security setup, but only time will tell. I wonder if having his correspondence and calls monitored will be part of his sentencing (he’s the man to go to if you want to play with plague, after all, and now he’s done, professionally and medically). Just a little unsettling thought.


  1. Excellent point. If he was a “disgruntled employee” before, just imagine what his attitude must be now.