A federal judge Friday found Sidney Kilmartin of Windham competent to stand trial on charges that he mailed a poisonous chemical to a suicidal Englishman who used it to kill himself in 2012.

Questions of whether Kilmartin is mentally fit for the case against him to proceed have delayed his trial in U.S. District Court in Bangor for months.

Kilmartin, 53, has been held in federal custody since his arrest last Nov. 5 on charges that he sent potassium cyanide to a man identified in court records as Andrew Denton of Kingston-upon-Hull, England, who died in December 2012.

Kilmartin was first scheduled to stand trial in April, then May, but that second trial date was postponed after his previous attorney announced plans to use an insanity defense.

Kilmartin is charged with mailing injurious articles, and mailing injurious articles resulting in Denton’s death.

While Kilmartin was in the process of undergoing a mental evaluation at Federal Medical Center Devens in Massachusetts, his previous lawyer, James Billings, withdrew and he was assigned a new lawyer, Wayne Foote.

With Foote representing him, Kilmartin withdrew his insanity defense Friday, according to court records.

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. set Kilmartin’s trial for jury selection on Nov. 3, court records say.

If convicted, Kilmartin will face up to life in prison. Though the more serious of the two charges can carry the death penalty, prosecutors are not seeking it.

Kilmartin, who had previously been committed to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, is accused of sending two batches of cyanide to Denton in 2012.

The first, sent on Nov. 16, failed to kill Denton. The second batch, which investigators say Kilmartin sent by U.S. mail on Dec. 11, was used by Denton to kill himself.


Denton and Kilmartin connected through comments that Kilmartin posted in an advertisement on a suicide blog offering potassium cyanide as “a painless and quick way to commit suicide” to anyone who could pay $250 a gram, according to court records.

Although Kilmartin has a history of mental illness, he obtained the cyanide by posing as a jeweler to persuade a California distributor to ship him 100 grams of the industrial-grade chemical for just $127.56, U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Desrosiers wrote in an affidavit in support of a search warrant.

Desrosiers’ affidavit outlines how authorities on both sides of the Atlantic found the connection between the two men through email exchanges, including one in which Kilmartin advised Denton to take the cyanide on an empty stomach to ensure its lethal effect.

Denton was found dead with 17 milligrams of cyanide per liter in his blood – more than three times the lethal dose of 5 milligrams per liter, according to Humberside police in England.

Denton had spent years struggling with depression and had tried to kill himself several times before taking the fatal dose of cyanide, according to an article last year in the Hull Daily Mail.

Potassium cyanide is a highly toxic, colorless salt, similar in appearance to sugar, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Used commercially for fumigation, electroplating and extracting gold and silver from ores, cyanide is usually shipped as capsules, tablets or pellets.

It releases highly toxic hydrogen cyanide gas, which interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen. Swallowing the chemical causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and irritation and corrosion of the lining of the esophagus and stomach. Ingestion can quickly result in death.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: scottddolan