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No charges in Starbucks orange juice case

May 24, 2013 4:51:45 PM PDT
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has decided not to file charges against a 50-year-old woman who was accused of placing rubbing alcohol in two bottles of orange juice at a Starbucks in San Jose last month, a prosecutor said Friday.

Ramineh "Romi" Behbehanian, in a case that made news nationwide, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and felony poisoning following an incident at a Starbucks at 6009 Snell Ave. on April 29.

A customer said Behbehanian switched two bottles of orange juice in the cafi's refrigerator with her own tainted bottles that she brought to the store in a Starbucks bag.

But tests ordered by the district attorney's office found that the orange juice allegedly dropped off at the cafi by Behbehanian contained vinegar, which is not considered a harmful substance, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Luis Ramos said.

"There appears to be insufficient evidence" that a crime was committed, Ramos said.

After tests that compared the juice in one of Behbehanian's bottles with a separate control amount of juice, a criminologist concluded that the vinegar was "the kind that people would put on a salad," Ramos said. If "anyone would consume it, they would spit it out," he said.

Ramos said that based on the tests, prosecutors could not rule out that the vinegar might have been "a naturally occurring product in the juice."

The San Jose Fire Department conducted a test after the bottles were discovered and said that they contained a lethal dose of rubbing alcohol, which led to Behbehanian's arrest, police said.


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