Update on the travelling cyanide-bomb salesman
. This story fills in some details
I hadn't seen before:
It was an odd trio: the leather-faced Krar, whose left eyelid drooped conspicuously down toward the often-unlit cigar butt in one corner of his mouth; the 53-year-old Judith Bruey, with whom Krar had lived for several years; and a slight, attractive then-20-year-old woman Krar introduced as Dawn.
The three had moved into a small cottage in a secluded area of rural Smith County and rented a storage room at the Noonday Storage Center on the outskirts of town.
"We thought Krar and Judy were married and Dawn was their niece or granddaughter," said Leslie Duecker, whose family operates the storage facility. "I mean that's the way it looked, until we saw Bill and Dawn hugging each other by the storage shed one day and it wasn't like any daughter or niece."
...The trio moved from New Hampshire, where Krar had pursued a similar occupation and kept a locker at a self-storage facility in Hooksett.
Krar was at that New Hampshire facility on Sept. 11, 2001. Employees there said Krar had attempted to impress them by claiming he had known the terror attacks were going to occur, though none believed him.
Among those employees was a young woman, Katie Smith, in whom Krar took an interest.
"He wanted to manage my finances," Smith said. "He claimed to be some sort of financier, and he said he'd lost his eye when he was in Special Forces in Vietnam."
Smith said Krar introduced her to Dawn, and the pair told her they were leaving the United States for Costa Rica, where they planned to build a retirement community and wanted her to join them.
"This Dawn girl was like his robot," Smith said. "She did everything he said. She told me that, before she met Bill (Krar), she had no self-confidence, but he had put her back on track.
"I met with them a couple of times. Once it was in a restaurant and it was like something out of a movie. We had to sit in a corner and speak quietly so nobody could hear us. He gave me some kind of paperwork to sign, swearing I wouldn't divulge our conversation because it was about `international business,' or something like that."
Krar gave her a business card, but the address was a mail drop.
"I knew they were scamming, but I couldn't figure out exactly what they were planning."
Nor could anyone else.
Little of what Krar told Smith and many others was true. Krar's attorney, Tonda Curry of Tyler, refers to her client as "an eccentric yarn spinner." Assistant U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston, who is prosecuting Krar, says the defendant is "full of bull." From either perspective, Krar embellished his image.
Neither lawyer can find any record of Krar ever being in the service. Rather than being a "financier," he worked as a carpenter and furniture maker before he abandoned that occupation in the 1980s and began selling surplus. His eye is the result of a birth defect. IDC America is not a valid company and has no holdings in Costa Rica.
The FBI investigation dragged on until almost a year after Krar's package was delivered to Staten Island. Then, on Jan. 11, 2003, Krar was stopped for a traffic violation in Shelbyville, Tenn. Police were puzzled when they found weapons and three packaged military atropine injections, an antidote for nerve gas.
Police also found a lengthy set of cryptic, handwritten notes that appeared to be some covert operation plan.
The FBI questioned Krar in Shelbyville, and Krar told them the weapons and other items were materials sold by his company, IDC. He said the false ID cards were jokes in some cases and in other cases used to avoid "harassing" phone calls from salesmen.
Krar also had an explanation for the notes. He said he was on his way to New Hampshire to visit Dawn, whom he described as his girlfriend of three years. She was divorcing her husband, Krar said. The notes, he said, were part of an escape plan he had devised for her. Krar made bail on the traffic violation and left Shelbyville, but the FBI investigation continued.
Finally, in April 2003, FBI agents obtained a warrant to search Krar's home and storage facility, based on Krar's sale of false documents.
What they found shocked residents of Noonday. Not only did Krar have reams of ammunition, silencers, automatic weapons, mines and other explosives, he had the soft-drink-sized canister of sodium cyanide and acid to activate it -- a combination that would have released the same toxic gas used in gas chambers in past decades. He had a collection of anarchist and white supremacist literature and instructions for making a cyanide bomb.
Prosecutors filed cases against Krar, Bruey and Feltus. All three have pleaded guilty and face sentencing, possibly later this month. Krar faces a maximum life sentence, and Bruey could receive five years. Feltus' possible punishment has not been specified.
Dawn was not charged. She would not return calls from the Chronicle.
Featherston said the case has spawned others. The assistant U.S. attorney would not give specifics but said 150 subpoenas have been issued, resulting in several arrests and several arms caches discovered.
Still, he said he does not know what Krar intended to do with the cyanide. "We'd like to know where it came from," he said.