Butler gets 2 years in prison

Plague researcher will also pay more than $50,000 in fines and restitution

John Dudley Miller(johnmiller@nasw.org)
Mar 10, 2004

LUBBOCK, TEXAS—Former Texas Tech professor Thomas Butler was sentenced to 24 months in prison yesterday (March 10) for illegally shipping Tanzanian plague samples back to that country and for defrauding the university in unrelated research he performed for pharmaceutical companies.

Stone-faced and tense through the entire proceeding, Butler showed no emotion when his sentence was read, but his 14-year-old daughter Christina and several family friends in the audience of 50 began sobbing, anguish visible on their faces. Butler and his wife Elisabeth have four children, ages 6 to 22.

Butler must also pay $19,700 in federal fines and assessments and $38,675 in restitution to the university. He is not eligible for early parole because none is allowed in the federal justice system. He can appeal his convictions, but he does so at the risk he might receive a substantially longer sentence if he loses, according to his Lubbock lawyer Floyd...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?