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Young genius guilty in plot to kill dad

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A teenager with an IQ of 147 was found guilty Wednesday of plotting to kill his father in 1983 with a colorless poison.

The plot was foiled by a friend of the teenager, who dumped the poison and refilled the vial with water.

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Montgomery Todd Meeks, 19, was found guilty on charges of attempted murder and solicitation to commit murder by a six-member jury that heard seven days of testimony.

Meeks faces a minimum of 12 years in prison, based on state sentencing guidelines. Orange County Circuit Judge Lawrence Kirkwood set sentencing for Feb. 21.

Meeks was charged with plotting to kill his father, Prentice Meeks, in October 1983. Testimony showed Meeks paid a friend, Robert Petersen, to travel to Louisville, Ky., to buy a deadly, nearly undetectable poison called ricin.

Unknown to Meeks, Petersen was persuaded by three friends to dump the poison and refill the vial with water before givingit to Meeks.

Petersen testified Meeks admitted putting the liquid in his father's water pitcher at the family home in Sanford. Meeks testified he put the liquid in the pitcher and then in his father's glass, but then changed his mind and got rid of the poison.

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Defense lawyer Arthur Baron said the murder plot stemmed from Meeks' fear of his father. Baron said Meeks, his mother and stepmother had been abused by Prentice Meeks.

Prosecutors countered there was no evidence to support Meeks' claim.

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