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Princeton man sent to Scotland, charged in alleged poisoning

A Princeton man has been extradited to Scotland to face an attempted murder charge for allegedly trying to poison a fellow student at the prestigious University of St. Andrews while he was studying there in 2011, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said.

Alexander Hilton, 24, returned to Scotland on Friday, US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office said in a statement.

Hilton, a 2009 graduate of St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, allegedly poisoned Robert Forbes, a fellow American citizen who like Hilton was studying at St. Andrews in 2011. Lawyers for Hilton argued in federal court in Boston in 2013 that he should not be extradited, but a judge approved the extradition in May of that year.


He remained free on bond while he pursued further appeals but was jailed in April 2015 at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., while he awaited extradition, court records show.

Norman S. Zalkind, a lawyer who represented Hilton in Boston, said Monday night his client had been released on bail in Scotland, but he would not say where he is staying. He also declined to discuss the poisoning allegation. “He has serious mental issues,” Zalkind said without elaborating. “He was suicidal when he was kept in [Wyatt], and we were worried for his physical safety.”

Neither Hilton’s lawyer in Scotland nor Scottish prosecutors could be reached for comment on Monday. It was not clear when Hilton will return to court in that country. Ortiz’s office did not describe a motive for the alleged poisoning.

At the time of the incident, Hilton was a sophomore studying economics and computing at St. Andrews.

Hilton returned to the United States around March 18, 2011, less than two weeks after the incident and just days after he was questioned by investigators in Scotland. He was arrested in February 2013 in Massachusetts under an extradition treaty the United States has with the United Kingdom.


Forbes, 19, at the time, suffered severe nausea and headaches for days and started to lose his vision before going to the hospital. Hilton allegedly tried to poison him with red wine that had been spiked with methanol, a toxic alcohol.

Milton J. Valencia of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.