EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) -- A southwestern Illinois man accused of inserting sewing needles into packaged supermarket meats that a federal prosecutor called “booby traps” wants a federal judge to reconsider denying him his release on bond.
A federal public defender has filed a motion challenging a ruling last month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Williams that Ronald Ayers, 68, remain jailed pending his trial tentative scheduled to begin Nov. 3. U.S. District Judge David Herndon ordered federal prosecutors to file their objections by the close of business Tuesday, with a hearing on the matter scheduled for Wednesday.
Williams had sided with prosecutors in denying the Belleville man’s request to be eligible for release on bond.
Avers was charged in July with seven felony product-tampering counts that were later replaced by an indictment against him, accusing him of slipping sewing needles into packaged meat items at a Shop ‘n Save in Belleville from May 2013 through July.
One customer eventually bit into a needle, and another customer got stuck in the hand by a needle in a steak. No serious injuries were reported from the needles, which the FBI said turned up in everything from ground beef to roasts and steaks.
The FBI said Avers told investigators he did it “just for the hell of it.”
That’s something federal prosecutor Suzanne Garrison argued in opposing any bond for Avers reflected the man’s “utter indifference to the noteworthy risk of serious bodily injury or death that is associated with consumption of a needle."