Ineptitude rescues would-be LSD maker
Wilmington - A former chemistry student's lack of skill in chemistry saved him from a harsh prison sentence Friday, according to a federal judge.
Paul G. Little had attempted to make LSD in a makeshift lab set up in a state park as a way to pay for college. But he failed in his effort to make the illegal hallucinogen and then was caught by police.
"It is only by the luck of your ineptitude that you are not going to jail for a long time," said District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr.
Little, 23, a former student at Widener University, was sentenced to time served -- 10 months -- and three years of probation. He pleaded guilty in April and could have faced up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Little, who was released to his family shortly after Friday's proceedings, apologized for his actions and said he was glad he did not succeed.
He said that while he was in prison, he saw the ill effects of drug addiction.
Little, who had no criminal record, told Farnan that his attendance and grades suffered when he tried to work and go to school at the same time. So while working at the Nature Center in White Clay Creek State Park near Newark, he hit on the idea of making money by making and selling LSD -- lysergic acid diethylamide.
He was never successful -- despite many attempts -- and was caught in September when a park employee discovered the makeshift lab in a park barn.
Sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of probation to six months in prison, but Farnan could have also imposed a fine or ordered restitution for the lab cleanup.
Farnan did not, however, tell Little he was giving him a break and that he should use this second chance to get his life back on track and work on improving his maturity and judgment.
By Sean O'Sullivan