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(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South preacher is accused of trying to kill his own wife with a poison banned in the U.S. Dealers still sell it online, and many farmers have it in stockpiles.
For 15 years, pastor Eddie Mallonee led the congregation at Second Baptist Church in Union City, Tennessee.
"One thing I would say is Mr. Mallonee who has been married almost 34 years now, his wife and his entire family stand with him," said attorney John Miles. "What I know is what everybody in this community knows, and that is what he's meant to this community in building the biggest church in Obion County."
Now Mallonee faces what may be his biggest challenge. He is charged with conspiracy and criminal attempt to commit first degree murder.
"I am heartbroken, but he's a wonderful person," said church member Carolyn Weeks.
Mallonee stepped down in February after rumors spread he was engaging in an affair.
At the time, some in the congregation at Second Baptist stood by him posting online "God has forgiven him".
His wife Cathy posted pictures of her and her husband on vacation on Facebook. Then in June, allegations of a transgression became far worse than an affair.
Mallonee and former church member Shelley Moran, a woman the district attorney referred to as Mallonee's former girlfriend, are accused of plotting to poison Mallonee's wife.
In an indictment handed up by an Obion County grand jury, the two are accused of obtaining poison to kill Cathy Moran, transporting that poison to Honduras, and attempting to administer the poison to Cathy Mallonee in her drink while she was doing mission work.
The alleged weapon of choice was Carbofuran, known by the trade name Furadan.
"The chemical is highly toxic to animals and humans. It would only take a very small amount for it to be fatal to a person," said Tom Womack with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The EPA banned the sale of Carbofuran in 2009. Before the ban, farmers used it to get rid of insects. The EPA banned the chemical because birds and other animals died after consuming it.
Prosecutors have not said how Mallonee and Moran allegedly got the Carbofuran to Honduras or where they supposedly got it from to begin with. Although, a farmer in said it may not be hard to come by.
He said a lot of farmers still have it in their stockpiles, and it is legal to use even though it is illegal to purchase.
You can find for sale by International dealers sell Furadan online. The poison causes nausea, dizziness, confusion, respiratory paralysis and death.
Mallonee and Moran pleaded not guilty to the poison plot at a courthouse peppered with fliers saying "the blood of Jesus forgives sins".
The pastor's wife held her husband's hand as they left the courthouse.
Pastor Mallonee's attorney said his client had no comment on this story. The Action News 5 investigators were unable to make contact with Shelly Moran's attorney.