Israeli expat accused of ex-husband murder plot sentenced for making ricin
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Israeli expat accused of ex-husband murder plot sentenced for making ricin

Judge says Danielle Dana Layman, who allegedly took out Craigslist ad to hire assassin amid child custody battle, did not go far enough in her plan for attempted murder charge

Danielle Layman (right) (courtesy)
Danielle Layman (right) (courtesy)

An Israeli expat living in Oklahoma accused of plotting to kill her ex-husband in Israel has apologized for manufacturing the poison ricin as a judge sentenced her Tuesday to more than three years in prison.

The Oklahoman daily reports the judge said that Danielle Dana Layman made the ricin while pregnant and with her four children in the house.

The judge reportedly said that Layman did not go far enough that her actions could be classed as attempted murder.

Layman acknowledged making the toxin derived from castor beans, but insisted she never intended to use it, calling the alleged plot “an elaborate fantasy.” She pleaded guilty to unregistered possession of ricin in February.

The 38-year-old Layman was arrested last year after another woman told the FBI of the murder-for-hire plot. The informant says she met Layman after responding to a Craigslist ad for an overseas acting job.

Castor beans, which can be used to make ricin poison, illustrative (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

The bizarre plan had Layman issue an ad calling for an amateur actor interested in a “10 day gig overseas” and promising “competitive pay.”

The ad, according to court documents, said the candidate “Doesn’t have to be a professional actor. Required: Creative, outgoing and friendly, positive personality, boldness and bravery (some stunts may seem risky, although they are completely safe). Discrete (you must not disclose any information related to the plot to ANYONE under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, until after it premiers, except with explicit permission from production).”

Tinsley Keefe told Oklahoma’s FOX 25 that she responded to the ad, and Layman arranged to meet her at a cafe.

Layman told Keefe she was an agent of Mossad — Israel’s spy agency — and asked her to travel to Israel to kill a man who works as a taxi driver in Tel Aviv, but who Layman claimed was actually a member of the Islamic State terror group.

Shahar Abecassis, an Israeli taxi driver, escaped an assassination plot hatched by his ex-wife, an Israeli expat living in Oklahoma, July 7, 2017. (Screenshot/Channel 10)

Layman said she would provide Keefe with ricin, one of the deadliest known toxins, and showed her a step-by-step PowerPoint presentation of the plan.

Layman wanted Keefe to hire the man — her ex-husband, a fact she neglected to mention — to drive her around Tel Aviv for a week. She would then slowly poison him by administering the ricin in his coffee.

“I was like, ‘Why would you ask me?’” Keefe told Fox 25. “And she said because she was recruited back when she was in college, she’d been doing it for a number of years, but couldn’t do it this time around because she was pregnant.

“She also said that the reason she wanted an American, female tourist to do it was because they would be less likely to be suspected.”

Layman offered Keefe $1,000 in travel expenses and a payment of $4,000 upon completing the job.

After leaving the meeting Keefe contacted the FBI, which began investigating. Eventually, agents arrested Layman and raided her home in Ponca City, finding dozens of castor beans (used to produce ricin), a mortar and pestle, and instructions printed out from the internet on how to make the poison.

They also discovered that the taxi driver Layman intended to kill was apparently her ex-husband, with whom she has been locked in a custody battle over their child.

Layman made headlines in Israel in 2014 when she visited the country with her daughter and her ex-husband filed court documents to prevent the daughter from leaving. The husband was identified as Shahar Abecassis. At the time Layman said she would “raise hell” to bring her daughter home. She even started a GoFundMe campaign to support her effort. The daughter eventually did return to the US.

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