updated 4/27/2007 10:05:58 PM ET 2007-04-28T02:05:58

A man who pleaded guilty to federal charges of possessing a deadly poison, firearms silencers and explosives was sentenced Friday to more than seven years in prison.

William Matthews, 56, was charged after a tip from his estranged wife led police and federal agents to search his property last May. They found the poison ricin in a sealed baby food jar, two functional pipe bombs, five gun silencers, three blasting caps and bomb-making materials.

Authorities have never explained why Matthews had the ricin, which is illegal to possess except for research, as well as pipe bombs and other bomb-making materials. The silencers are legal but were not properly registered.

Roughly the amount of ricin that fits on the head of a pin is enough to kill an adult, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison and will also have to serve five years of supervised release.

Matthews testified at his plea hearing that in the 1960s he was found to have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and received treatment then.

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