penguin_dance passes along the news that a respected anthrax researcher, about to be indicted, has committed suicide
. The FBI has been investigating the case since anthrax-contaminated letters were sent to the media and various politicians in 2001
. The AP's coverage
mentions that prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty. The suicide was not the one you might imagine if you've been following the story. "A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned. Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution... The extraordinary turn of events followed the government's payment in June of a settlement valued at $5.82 million to a former government scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, who was long targeted as the FBI's chief suspect despite a lack of any evidence that he had ever possessed anthrax."