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Former chemistry professor jailed for making meth

Bradley Allen Rowland must also pay restitution to Henderson State University

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla, special to C&EN
November 9, 2021


A man with a beard standing in front of a white wall.
Credit: Clark County Sheriff's Office
Bradley Allen Rowland

A former chemistry professor was sentenced to 4 months in jail by an Arkansas court after pleading guilty to making methamphetamine at work.

Bradley Allen Rowland entered his guilty plea in Clark County District Court on Nov. 5. In addition to the jail time, he must also pay his former employer, Henderson State University (HSU), $149,917 in restitution. According to news reports, this is the amount HSU paid for cleaning and repair of its science building after a spill of benzyl chloride, a precursor to phenyl-2-propanone, which is used in the synthesis of methamphetamine.

On Oct. 27, a jury acquitted Terry David Bateman, another former chemistry professor at HSU, who was accused of making methamphetamine with Rowland.

In 2019, police had arrested Bateman and Rowland, charging the chemists with making methamphetamine, manufacturing a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, and possession of phenylpropanolamine, a precursor of methamphetamine. The case gained significant media attention due to its similarities with the popular TV series “Breaking Bad,” in which a fictional chemistry teacher cooks crystal meth.

At the time, both Bateman and Rowland pleaded not guilty. But in Bateman’s trial, Rowland testified against his former colleague, alleging that both he and Bateman were guilty. Bateman, however, denied all allegations, claiming that Rowland was solely guilty.

After pleading guilty, Rowland paid HSU $10,000 on Nov. 5 and is due to pay the university a further $25,000 within 30 days, prosecuting attorney Dan Turner says in a statement published by HSU’s newspaper, the Oracle. As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Rowland will also serve 200 hours of community service, be on supervised probation for 6 years, and be treated for substance abuse.

“The plea entered by Rowland was reviewed and approved by the administration of HSU with a specific intent on attempting to recover restitution and hold those involved accountable,” Turner says in his statement. HSU didn’t reply to a request for comment.

Rowland’s attorney, Clinton Mathis, said “the sentence accurately reflects [Rowland’s] acceptance of responsibility, the degree of his assistance to the state, Brad’s sincere desire to become a benefit to society and make right any damage he had a part in causing,” the Arkansas Times reported.



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