MS man indicted in mailing of ricin-laced letters to Obama
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Mississippi man was indicted Monday in the mailing of ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and two other officials.
The five-count indictment charges James Everett Dutschke, 41, with producing and using the deadly toxin as a weapon, using the mail to threaten Obama, Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Lee County Judge Sadie Holland. The indictment alleges Dutschke tried to implicate someone else for the crimes.
That other man, an Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis, was arrested on April 17. He claimed he’d been framed, and the charges against him were dropped less than a week later.
Dutschke was then arrested April 27 and charged with producing the ricin. Curtis had said the two men knew each other and had a falling out.
An affidavit released earlier said investigators conducted searches of Dutschke’s home and former place of business and found incriminating items including latex gloves and a dust mask. The mask tested positive for ricin.
According to court papers, each letter contained the same message, saying in part, “Maybe I have your attention now Even if that means someone must die. This must stop. To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”
The letters all ended with the words “I am KC and I approve this message.” That was a phrase commonly used by Paul Kevin Curtis in online postings.
The indictment claims Dutschke used such language in the messages “to make it appear that Paul Kevin Curtis was responsible” for the letters.
If convicted Dutschke could face up to life in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Oxford, Mississippi, on Thursday. CNN’s message to Dutschke’s lawyer was not immediately returned.