The Richmond Register

Local News

February 22, 2013

Judge denies probation in rat-poison case

Cain sentenced to six and a half years in prison

RICHMOND — A man who admitted to spiking his wife’s coffee with rat poison was denied probation Friday and sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

As part of a mediation agreement, 56-year-old William T. Cain pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree manslaughter last month. His victim, Deborah Cain, participated in the mediation process that determined the sentencing recommendation.

Cain’s attorney made a plea for probation to Madison Circuit Court Judge William Clouse, stating the lifelong resident of Madison County had little in the way of a criminal record prior to the rat-poison incident.

The defense attorney said Cain was not a danger to the community.

“It was a misguided play to get attention from his wife,” he said.

The attorney added Cain never meant to kill his wife, and that he “plans on going on to live his life apart from Deborah.”

The couple separated in August 2011, and Deborah Cain filed for divorce in 2012, according to family court records.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith argued against Cain being granted probation.

“This could have ended very badly, we’re lucky it didn’t,” Smith said

Smith added that Cain knew his wife was taking a blood thinning medication, which would’ve immediately caused serious complications if his wife had drunk the coffee mixed with rat poison.

Smith said that granting Cain probation would be a “slap in the face of Deborah Cain and the community.”

Clouse called the case “novel,” but added that didn’t take away from the seriousness of the crime. He also said anytime a person tries to kill someone, the perpetrator is a danger to the community.

“Six and a half years is a very generous offer from the Commonwealth in this case,” Clouse said before he denied the motion for probation.

Cain will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of his sentence, which is a little over a year. He has been at the Madison County Detention Center since May 6 and will have already served nearly 300 days.

Cain originally was charged with attempted murder after his wife called police May 6, telling them that her husband had put rat poison in the bottom of her coffee pot.

Richmond officers took the coffee for testing, according to an RPD news release. Cain was found later and during an interview with officers, admitted he had tried to poison his wife.

“(Cain) stated his wife argues with him over everything, and he could not take it anymore,” RPD Officer Paul Hogan wrote in the arrest report.

Cain’s attorney said the man knew the rat poison would cause harm to his wife because she was taking a blood thinner medication.

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