Carol Anne Bond said she had felt twice betrayed - once by her unfaithful husband and once by her close friend who gave birth to his child.
That was what led her, the Lansdale woman told a federal judge yesterday, to put toxic chemicals on the other woman's mailbox, car door, and front house door in Norristown from late 2006 to mid-2007.
Though no one was injured, Bond, a former technical assistant at Rohm & Haas who has a master's degree in microbiology, was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison under the federal chemical-weapons statute.
"The law does not give her the legal right to take her own vengeance," District Judge James T. Giles declared at the conclusion of an emotional, nearly six-hour sentencing hearing.
In a tearful statement to Giles, Bond, 37, said she had never meant to hurt anyone - only to scare Myrlinda Haynes, who had been so close to her family that her mother had referred to Haynes as her "third daughter."
"When I found out, I was very upset because I felt both him and her had betrayed my trust," said Bond, referring to the romantic relationship between Haynes and her husband, Clifford Bond.
But Giles said that Bond was "fortunate that she's not facing murder charges," and that the ordeal had a severe impact on Haynes, who testified that the repeated discovery of the chemicals on her property had traumatized her.
Haynes said Bond had threatened to make her life a living hell after learning of the affair. "In many ways, you have succeeded," Haynes said to Bond in her own tearful testimony.
Defense attorney Robert E. Goldman argued that Bond deserved a shorter prison term because she had admitted her criminal behavior and had suffered psychological problems because of the affair.
"This was not an attempt to kill," Goldman said, calling Bond a "broken woman" who had taken responsibility for her actions. "Good people do make bad decisions."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Shapiro had asked for a sentence of seven to nine years, saying Bond visited Haynes' house 24 times to distribute the chemicals, stolen from her workplace and obtained from the Internet, in a pattern of criminal behavior.
Shapiro said Bond had been prosecuted previously for harassing Haynes, yet her behavior did not improve. "Rather than stop . . . it appears to have escalated," he said.
Goldman contended that Bond, who has been in custody since her arrest last June, should not have been prosecuted under the chemical-weapons statute, which he argued was intended for terrorists. He said an appeal on that issue could be filed, but no decision had been made.