- Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

June 20, 2014

Hearing in ricin case set for August 15

Oklahoma City — A former Ada resident who is accused of plotting to poison his girlfriend and her unborn child with ricin will return to court in mid-August.

A preliminary hearing for Preston H. Rhoads is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 15 in Oklahoma County District Court, according to the website for the Oklahoma State Courts Network. The hearing will determine whether Rhoads will be bound over for trial on two counts of solicitation to commit murder and two counts of attempting to kill another person.

Rhoads, 30, is a graduate of Ada High School who later attended East Central University. He currently lives in Oklahoma City, where he was arrested in April on suspicion of producing ricin and asking a former co-worker to help poison Rhoads’ girlfriend, Shanisty Whittington.

Rhoads allegedly met with the former co-worker on April 9 at Rhoads’ home in Oklahoma City, according to an affidavit for his arrest. Rhoads  showed the other man a vial containing white powder and claimed the powder was ricin, a deadly poison made with castor beans, acetone and lye.

Rhoads allegedly told his former co-worker that he wanted to hire the other man to poison Whittington, who was pregnant, and kill her unborn child.

Following the meeting, the former co-worker contacted the FBI in Oklahoma City to report the conversation. An FBI agent familiar with weapons of mass destruction said that items taken from Rhoads’ home were consistent with ricin-producing tools, and tests later confirmed that ricin was present in the house.

Rhoads was arrested April 17. He is currently being held without bond in the Oklahoma County jail.

Neither Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater nor Rhoads’ attorney, J.W. Coyle III of Oklahoma City, returned calls seeking comment before press time Wednesday.


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