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Prison Inmate Charged With Courthouse Anthrax Scare

Hampden County Hall of Justice in Springfield MA

A Massachusetts state prison inmate has pleaded innocent to charges related to a hazardous materials scare at the  Hall of Justice in Springfield.   WAMC”s Paul Tuthill reports.

      Two envelopes containing a white powder were mailed to the office of  a judge and to the Hampden County District Attorney last fall. When a staffer opened one, it triggered a full scale hazardous materials response by authorities.  The courthouse was  shut down for four hours.  It was later determined the envelopes contained a soap powder.  Investigators traced the accompanying letters to  Derek Moldanado,a former Springfield resident, who is in prison for assault and battery with a firearm.  Prosecutors allege he perpetrated the hoax in hopes of being transferred  to a federal prison…

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.