United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Gainesville Division
SAMUEL J. CRUMP, BOP Reg. # 63258-019, Movant,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
MOTION TO VACATE 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
CLAY FULLER United States Magistrate Judge.
JUDGE'S FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
has filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate his
sentence. (Doc. 307).
IS RECOMMENDED that the motion be
On December 10, 2013, a federal grand jury returned a
three-count superseding indictment against Crump [Movant] and
his co-defendant Ray Adams. The indictment charged Crump with
conspiring [in 2011] to possess and produce the biological
toxin ricin for use as a weapon in Count One and with
possessing the biological toxin ricin in its naturally
occurring form, castor beans, for use as a weapon in Count
Two, both in violation of Title 18, United States Code,
Section 175(a). Crump was convicted of Counts One and Two.
(Doc. 317 (Gov't Resp.) at 10 (citations omitted)). On
November 14, 2014, Movant received two concurrent 120-month
sentences. (Doc. 250). He appealed, raising a single issue:
“whether his conviction is invalid because §
175(a) failed to provide him with fair notice that the
conduct in which he engaged was prohibited.” (Doc. 283
at 2). On July 6, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit held that
Movant's “conduct clearly transgressed 18 U.S.C.
§ 175(a). Thus, his complaint of vagueness is unavailing
. . . .” (Id. at 4).
government provides the following factual background:
In July 2010, Joseph Sims, Jr., an inmate in the Anderson
County South Carolina Jail, contacted the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (“FBI”) and reported that he had
information that members of the Militia of Georgia
(“MOG”) were engaged in illegal activity,
including training with unregistered fully automatic weapons
and destructive devices. (Doc. 271 [at] 117, 232-73). In
2011, the FBI signed Sims up as an informant and he
consensually digitally recorded telephone calls and meetings
he had with individuals associated with the MOG, including
Crump. ([Id. at] 131-32).
On September 17, 2011, Sims consensually recorded a meeting
with Crump, Ray Adams, Emory Dan Roberts, and others at
Adams's residence in Toccoa, Georgia. (Gov't Ex.
5-T). Sims asked Crump, “The stuff that, um, Dan
[Roberts] said you can make, you still make that?”
(Id. at 17). Crump replied, “Yea.”
following conversation then occurred:
Crump: What I'd like to do is make, uh, about 10 pounds
of that. Give you 2, me 2, Ray [Adams] 2, Dan [Roberts] 2,
and somebody else 2. Put it out in different cities at the
same time: Washington, DC; maybe Newark, NJ; Atlanta, GA;
Jacksonville, FL; New Orleans. Dump that little
(unintelligible) that's all ya gotta do is lay it in the
damn road, the cars are gonna spread it.
Sims: Yea, but what's it take to make it? I haven't
got a clue.
Crump: Just some seed. I got the, uh, got one more
ingredient, and I'll get it today. (Unintelligible) you
be here when we make it. Ray's (Adams) gonna make it.
(Id. at 17-19).
(Gov't Resp. at 3-4 (footnote omitted)).
then suggested dispersing ricin in the Atlanta area, telling
Sims the following: “Ya get on the perimeter of
Atlanta, you get up on the north side, ya get on 41, ya throw
it out there right on 285, ya go up 41 or 75, go up 75 to get
away from it. Keep the heater on, that way it keeps the
pressure out. Don't roll your window down.”
([Gov't Ex. 5-T] at 23-24).
eventually called Adams over and the following conversation
Crump: What's the name of that worst poison, Ray?
Crump: No, the other one.
Adams: What other one?
Crump: Kills about 30 million people at one time, about a
pound of it. It's caused from dead food . . . rotten
Adams: Oh, botulism.
(Id. at 24-25).
October 6, 2011, Sims consensually recorded a meeting with
Crump and asked about his plans to make ricin. (Gov't Ex.
6-T). Crump told Sims, “I'll bring ya some seed,
” (referring to castor beans) and then explained that
the items needed to make ricin included castor beans,
acetone, lye, and a mixer. (Id. at 2). Crump also
explained that when searching for or purchasing materials to
make ricin, a person should buy the materials at different
locations and away from where the person lives. (Id.
at 2-3). Crump also warned against searching or purchasing
ingredients on the Internet because it could be tracked.
(Id. at 24-25). Crump made the following additional
comments regarding making ricin:
• “When ya soak it [castor bean], that lye takes
the hull off the seeds. Then ya take the seeds up
(unintelligible). Then one ounce of seed to two maybe three
ounces of acetone. All that acetone is  your drying
compound. Once you put [it] in a blender, keep blendin'
it up, it's gonna come out like baby powder. But now ya
gotta be careful of that shit”;
• “It's [ricin] gotta be put in a jar after it
comes out of the blender. Ya can't handle that shit with
your bare hands. Ya got to have gloves”;
• “There's no cure for it [ricin] once it gets
into your lungs. You're gone. You can kiss it
• “If it [ricin] gets on your skin, it soaks into
your skin, you're gone. This damn stuff is
• “I can get ya seed [castor beans]. I know where
the seeds is at right now”;
(Id. at 2-11, 16-17). (Gov't Resp. at 5-6;
see Id. at 6-7 (listing more of Movant's
“comments regarding dispersing ricin”)).
October 15, 2011, Sims recorded a conversation in which
Movant discussed the equipment needed to make ricin from
castor beans and during which Adams retrieved a castor bean
from storage and gave it to Movant, who gave it to Sims; and
on October 26, 2011, Sims recorded a conversation in which
Movant “talked about building and testing a delivery
system to disperse ricin[ and] mentioned that he was having
trouble finding the Red Devil lye and told Sims to get as
much lye [as] he could find after Sims offered to find lye
and a blender.” (Gov't Resp. at 7-8 (citing
Gov't Ex. 7-T at 7-8, 10; Gov't Ex. 8-T at 7,
10-11)). Sims also recorded a conversation with Thomas and
Crump on October 29, 2011, during which “Crump told
Sims that he was going to ‘shell them damn seeds . . .
get the seed out.' Sims asked if he could help and Crump
made a gesture with his hands indicating how many seeds were
at his house.” (Id. at 8 (citing Gov't Ex.
9-T at 15)).
November 1, 2011, agents with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) executed search warrants at the
residences of Crump and Adams. (Doc. 275 [at] 740, 747, 768,
788, 814). Agents seized a bag of castor beans and partially
shelled castor bean shells from Crump's residence. (Doc.
267 [at] 936-37; Gov't Ex. 35). On December 1, 2011,
agents executed a search warrant at a storage unit owned by
Crump and seized the following property:
• White bag containing over 100 castor beans (Doc. 267
[at] 943-46; Gov't Ex. 40)
• Ricin recipe and handwritten note on dimethyl
sulfoxide (Doc. 267 [at] 948-50; Gov't Ex. 38);
• Blender (Doc. 267 [at] 958-59; Gov't Ex. 39);
• Several boxes containing rubber gloves (Doc. 267 [at]
959-61; Gov't Ex. 46-48);
• Handwritten notes with addresses of FBI buildings in
Georgia (Doc. 267 [at] 950-52; Gov't Ex. 41).
During the trial, the government called several expert
witnesses to testify about ricin testing on castor beans.
(Doc. 267). A government expert testified that ricin is a
biological toxin naturally occurring in the seeds of castor
plants. ([Id. at] 981-82). Experts also testified
that ricin is an extremely toxic substance capable of causing
death in humans ([id. at] 998-1000, 1050, 1103), and
that the castor beans recovered from both Adams's and
Crump's properties tested positive for biologically
active ricin. ([Id. at] 986, 989, 993, 995;
Gov't Exs. 16, 18, 20, 26-27, 52-56). The government
experts also testified that ingesting castor beans could
potentially cause death in humans. (Doc. 267 [at] 999-1000).
(Gov't Resp. at 9-10).
The § 2255 Motion In his § 2255
motion, Movant raises the following four grounds for relief:
(1) Actual Innocence; (2) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
by Trial Counsel; (3) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel on
Appeal; and (4) ...