William Robert Cable, 38, a handyman from the northern California town of San Andreas in the United States of America (USA) has been arrested for allegedly feeding eight homeless people with poisoned food and records them as they react to the poison for his own enjoyment.
He was charged with eight counts of felony poisoning, one count of elder abuse and eight misdemeanour counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Many of the victims required hospitalisation and they survived but suffered a variety of severe reactions. The district attorney’s office said some of the reactions include convulsions, breathing difficulty, vomiting, and intense mouth and stomach pain.
The prosecutors said he deceived his victims into ingesting oleoresin capsicum, a chemical compound from which the active ingredient in pepper spray is extracted.
The New York Times reported that the victims were unaware the food had been tampered with, while several were given other food and beer to entice them to eat the tainted offerings.
These victims were all in the coastal town of Huntington Beach, south of Los Angeles and some were told they were participating in a “spicy food challenge” as part of the ruse
District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement these (innocent) human beings were preyed upon because they are vulnerable.
He said they were exploited and poisoned as part of a twisted form of entertainment. The judge highlighted that their pain was recorded so that it could be relived by their attacker over and over again.
The mayor of Huntington Beach, Lyn Semeta, expressed outrage over the disturbing attack that spanned a little more than a week beginning in mid-May. Semeta said: “The cruel nature of these crimes shocks the conscience.”
The Orange County district attorney’s office said the suspect was taken into custody on May 22 and has been jailed on $500,000 bond as police continue their investigation.
If convicted, Cable faces up to 19 years in prison.