Charges filed against Mississipi man in connection to ricin letters case

58657 full
58657 full

Update at 1:04 p.m. Charges filed:

The AP reports that authorities have filed charges agains a Mississippi man suspected of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama, Senartor Wicker and a state judge. 

In a press release, U.S. attorney Felicia C. Adams and FBI agent Daniel McCullen said 41-year-old James Everett Dutschke was taken into custody at 12:50 a.m. Saturday. He's expected to appear in court Monday and faces life in prison if convicted, the AP reported.

Update 9:13 a.m.: 

Federal agents who are investigating poison-laced letters that were sent to President Obama and others have arrested Everett Dutschke, of Tupelo, Miss. The Daily Journal of Tupelo reports that the arrest occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to the president, letters containing the poison ricin were sent to Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi state judge. No charges have been filed against Dutschke, but the AP reports that it has confirmation from the FBI that his arrest is tied to the ricin investigation.

The FBI, the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel have searched Dutschke's property several times in the past two weeks, including Tuesday, when technicians in hazmat suits were sent to his home. Agents also searched his taekwondo studio in Tupelo.

Police "maintained a presence all week in Dutschke's Canal Street neighborhood, setting up an observational parimeter around his home," The Daily Journal reports.

A former political candidate, Dutschke has granted several interviews, including a phone conversation with the AP Tuesday, as he waited for his home to be searched.

"I'm a patriotic American. I don't have any grudges against anybody. I did not send the letters," he said.

As we reported earlier this week, federal authorities released Paul Kevin Curtis and dropped all charges against him Tuesday.

Update at 8:55 a.m. Possible Charges:

While authorities have not yet released a list of charges against Dutschke, they would likely resemble those faced by Curtis, who faced "maximum possible penalties of 15 years in prison, $500,000 in fines, and three years of supervised release" for charges that included an attempt to use the mail system to injure or kill the president of the United States, according to an FBI release at the time of Curtis's arrest.

It's possible that Dutschke could face additional charges, including obstructing a federal investigation.

After his arrest, Curtis and his attorneys said that he'd been framed. The ricin-containing letters included the sentence "This is KC and I approve this message" — similar to the style of an earlier Facebook post by Curtis.

Upon his release Tuesday, Curtis "said he met Dutschke in 2005 but for some reason Dutschke 'hated' and 'stalked' him," the AP reported. "'To this day I have no clue of why he hates me.'"

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
blog comments powered by Disqus