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Court OKs Delay for Cyanide Suspect

September 24, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A judge granted a 90-day delay in proceedings against a terminal cancer patient who is charged with mailing cyanide packets disguised as nutritional supplements.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wistrich signed the order late Wednesday. Without it, prosecutors would have been required to file an indictment against Kathryn Schoonover by Thursday.

The 50-year-old homeless woman is unable to stand trial because of her cancer, Wistrich said. It has spread from her breast to her liver and possibly her bones, said Dr. Ramadas Aboy of White Memorial Hospital. He told the judge she has less than a year to live and ``standing trial could hasten her death,″ according to the order.

Ms. Schoonover, who was arrested in August, will remain in custody and be treated if necessary, the judge said.

She was arrested after someone reported that a woman was in the Marina del Rey post office wearing rubber gloves, holding a container marked with a skull and crossbones and scooping a substance from the container into envelopes, the complaint said.

Ms. Schoonover allegedly stuffed cyanide packets attached to health supplement brochures into 100 envelopes. There have been no known deaths from cyanide mailings.

In a van where Ms. Schoonover was living, authorities found two ``hit lists″ naming individuals apparently targeted to receive the cyanide packets, postal inspectors said.

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