Inmate waives hearing over letter that sickened troopers

Carlisle/West Shore
Donovan Lee

Donovan Lee

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A state prison inmate is headed to court on allegations he sent a letter laced with illegal synthetic drugs that sickened troopers and prompted the evacuation of their barracks in 2018.

Donovan N. Lee waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Police said Lee was incarcerated at the Fayette state prison when he sent the letter to state police in Carlisle in January 2018. They said the letter was retaliation for what Lee felt was a slow investigation into a sexual assault allegation he made while jailed at the state prison in Camp Hill.

The station clerk handed the letter to the trooper to which it was addressed. The trooper opened the letter and began to suffer an emergency reaction. Several other troopers attended to the sickened trooper and transported him to UPMC Carlisle for treatment.

The station clerk and one of the troopers provided first aid started to suffer symptoms and had to be taken to the hospital. Two troopers who helped transport the victims to the hospital also started to have reactions, and two nurses at the hospital had a reaction after coming into contact with the original victim, the news release states.

The first three people to come into contact with the letter all had adverse reactions and symptoms for several days.

The Carlisle station was evacuated and placed under quarantine.

Lee admitted to investigators that he sent the letter with the purpose of harming the trooper investigated his alleged sexual assault, police said.

Lee is charged with weapons of mass destruction, assault by a prisoner, aggravated assault, obstruction, reckless endangerment, and related offenses.

He is already serving 25 to 50 years for his 2017 conviction in a child sexual abuse case.

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