From the June 2003 Idaho Observer:

Wife, mother wrongfully convicted of murder; aspartame not even indicted (yet)

by Don Harkins

We live in a time when money rules: products that maim and kill are approved by the government and the injuries and deaths they cause are blamed on something or someone else. When infants die from an adverse reaction to vaccines, innocent parents are routinely sentenced to life in prison for shaking their babies to death. Today, a fine innocent woman and widowed mother of three sits in a Virginia prison, sentenced to serve 20 years and 30 years concurrently for poisoning her husband with methanol. As you are about to see, her husband was murdered, but Diane Fleming was not the killer.

Shortly after New Years, 2000, Chuck Fleming, 37, an athletic man who had been into body building for years added to his dietary regimen Gatorade and Creatine. Six months later he was dead. The autopsy shows he died of chronic methanol poisoning. He had been using Ripped Fuel, an ephedra-containing product which interacts with aspartame, Met-Rex containing aspartame, and now Gatorade mixed with Creatine to help build muscle mass.

On the way home from church on a Sunday afternoon in June, 2000 the Flemings stopped to buy a case of Gatorade and a carton of Creatine. Chuck Fleming mixed a bottle of warm Gatorade with triple the amount of Creatine recommended. He misread the directions calling for a teaspoon, instead of a tablespoon. Diane recalls her husband didn't like the taste, but put the bottle in the refrigerator and took off to play basketball, as was his custom 2-3 times a week.


For about a month prior to his death, Fleming had complained to his wife about shortness of breath and intermittent nausea. For years Fleming drank ten or more 12-ounce cans of diet soft drinks each day and each evening had 2-4 mixed drinks of bourbon and Diet Sprite. He drank very little water and never tea or coffee. while on his fitness regimen, he ate various protein health bars and took several pharmaceutical preparations including Prevacid, digestive antacid, Tetracycline (antibiotic), Naproxed (digestive anti-inflammatory ), a multivitamin with iron and Vancenase AQ, a nasal inhaler for allergies.


The process whereby the G. D. Searle Corporation, then led by current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, secured aspartame's FDA approval is beyond the scope of this article. However, comments by Arthur Evangelista, a former Food and Drug Administration Inspector, put the government approval of the chemical sweetener into proper perspective. "Regardless of how I initially felt about aspartame, the evidence is factual. It's a poison. Now we have to do something about it because aspartame in our food supply is MASS MURDER." (EMPHASIS ORIGINAL).

Aspartame is now used as a sweetener in thousands of products consumed by millions of Americans daily. The FDA lists 92 symptoms of aspartame poisoning. Sudden death is one of them. Unprecedented numbers of Americans are dropping dead. The Atlanta Journal Constitution some months ago reported 450,000 people have dropped dead for no apparent reason. James Bowen, M.D., himself a case study in aspartame poisoning, believes the excitoxin is responsible for the nation's epidemic of sudden deaths. "My articles at and my book 'Billions of Victims' are essential reading for a full understanding of the sudden death issue relative to aspartame." commented Dr. Bowen.


Returning from basketball, Fleming ate a bowl of ice cream, then mixed Creatine into three remaining three bottles of Gatorade and went to bed early. Next morning he woke up feeling ill, but went to work. He took three of the four bottles of Gatorade with him to work, but drank only a third of one bottle before returning home nauseated, thinking he just had a flu bug. Chuck's condition kept deteriorating. By late afternoon the following day, Diane called 911 and her husband was rushed to the hospital. He lapsed into a coma and was removed from life support three days later and soon pronounced dead. An autopsy confirmed methanol poisoning as the cause of death but the report was delayed for several months. Investigative authorities questioned the family about Fleming and his habits and had the Gatorade tested. The bottles of Gatorade each contained measurable amounts of methanol.

This was to be a special week for the Fleming family. Their son Jeff was graduating from High School and Diane's parents had arrived from another state to join the occasion. If you were going to poison your spouse would you select such a time and deliberately destroy the celebration? Ridiculous!!!

Diane was not initially suspected of murdering Chuck, but thirteen months later she was arrested and indicted. At trail it was decided, purely as an unsupported assumption that the source of the methanol that led to Fleming's death was from a gallon of windshield washer fluid found in the Fleming garage. The jury was persuaded to believe that Diane added it to the Gatorade/Creatine mixture. Curiously, of the four bottles of Gatorade found to contain methanol in concentrations that ranged from 3.3 percent to 4.07 per cent (by weight) only half of one bottle had been consumed. A toxicologist at the trial testified there wasn't enough methanol in all four bottles to kill Fleming. One-third of one bottle at the concentrations determined could not have been the cause of the man's death, yet Fleming had methanol poisoning.


If Diane did not poison her husband where did the methanol in his body come from? In his article, Aspartame and Methanol Revisited, Dr. Bowen explains the aspartame decomposition process: in the body it metabolizes to methanol (wood alcohol), then to formaldehyde, next to formic acid (fire ant poison) next to carbon monoxide. Outside of the body, aspartame decomposes at room temperature, but the body accelerates with higher temperatures. Lab tests show aspartame in soda diminishes with time, and methanol and formaldehyde, not present initially, accumulate in measurable quantities as breakdown proceeds.

It should also be noted that the methanol found in the unopened, sealed container of windshield wiper fluid was not matched forensically to the methanol found in the Gatorade/Creatine mixture. The wiper fluid theory, an assumption the prosecutor used to conflict Diane Fleming of killing her husband, is pure conjuncture and imaginzation. Let's call it "Uncircumstantial Evidence!"

Aspartame is a cumulative poison, explains Betty Martini of Mission Possible, a worldwide network of activists working to remove aspartame from our foods and drinks: "I believe Chuck's addiction of aspartame-laced diet drinks accumulated the methyl alcohol in his body and finally overcame him. Many recent reports of sudden death of professional athletes mirror Chuck Fleming's case. Fleming's diet soda habit is not questioned. We can state with certainty that he had elevated levels of aspartame decomposition toxins in his system. Also, on that fatal day he mixed too much Creatine into his Gatorades and did not drink any water as the manufacturer recommends.

The toxic properties of aspartame are well documented, and several books about this poison have been written by highly credentialed medical doctors. It is an effective rat and ant killer. Aspartame responds synergistically to transform other substances such as ephedra, MSG and pharmaceutical drugs into toxic compounds. "During the last year I had been researching Creatine and Ephedra and never thought the culprit was aspartame", said Diane's friend Betty Rickmond.


Rickmond has never doubted her friend's innocence and is absolutely certain the evidence proves. Diane did not murder her husband. She even passed a polygraph with flying colors which is, sadly, not admissible in court." The evidence says Fleming died from his addiction to aspartame-sweetened beverages.

At the time of the trial, the defense didn't know aspartame converts into methanol. A subsequent appeal was denied. An appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court is pending. Martini, who has thousands of cases histories of aspartame poisoning, believes that Diane's tragic case can raise public awareness and lead to banning this poison. Diane Fleming's life has been destroyed. She lost her loved husband, her three children, her home, her freedom, and her dignity and good name. In short, Diane lost her life! Will she evermore be called a murderess?

The National Soft Drink Association strenuously protested against aspartame approval "Aspartame is inherently, markedly and uniquely unstable." Their long protest is recorded in the May 7, l985 Senate Congressional Record S5507-11. When it was approved thanks to Mr. Rumsfeld's talents, they forgot their protests because they save 75% over sugar when they substitute this poison. FDA has received more complaints about this sweetener. FDA has received more complaints about this toxic substance then all other food additives combined, but 11 FDA officials switched to take positions in the aspartame industry.

If you wish to write Diane Fleming or can help free this woman her address is:

Diane Fleming #311655
FCCW 30 207A
Box 1000
Troy, Virginia 22974

I'm sure it would help to receive letters, and know caring people are working to free her from this nightmare and return her to her children. She is only allowed to receive what can be sent with a 37 cent stamp, not over 5 pages regardless.

Look for more about the atrocity that destroyed Diane Fleming's life.

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