April 28, 2013

Mississippi man arrested in poison letters case

A break in the ricin case comes after charges were dropped against an Elvis impersonator.

The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi man whose home and business were searched as part of an investigation into poisoned letters sent to the president and others has been arrested in the case, according to the FBI.

Everett Dutschke
click image to enlarge

Everett Dutschke, right, confers with a federal agent Wednesday near the site of a martial arts studio he once operated in Tupelo, Miss. Dutschke was arrested Saturday.

The Associated Press

Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested about 12:50 a.m. Saturday at his Tupelo home in connection with the letters, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said. The letters, which tests showed were tainted with ricin, were sent April 8 to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge, Sadie Holland.

Madden said FBI special agents arrested Dutschke without incident. She said additional questions should be directed to the U.S. attorney's office. The office in Oxford did not immediately respond to messages Saturday.

Dutschke's attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said Saturday in a text message that "the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke's arrest. We have no comment at this time." Basham also said via text that she didn't know what the charges against him were.

Basham said earlier this week that Dutschke was "cooperating fully" with investigators. Dutschke has insisted he had nothing to do with the letters.

Ryan Taylor, a spokesman for Wicker, said Saturday that "because the investigation is still ongoing, we're not able to comment."

Charges in the case were initially filed against an Elvis impersonator but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect, the judge and the senator. Earlier in the week, as investigators searched his primary residence in Tupelo, Dutschke told The Associated Press, "I don't know how much more of this I can take."

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

Charges initially were filed last week against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, but then dropped after authorities said they had discovered new information. Curtis' lawyers say he was framed.

Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy, said Saturday: "We are relieved but also saddened. This crime is nothing short of diabolical. I have seen a lot of meanness in the past two decades, but this stops me in my tracks."

Dutschke and Curtis were acquainted. Curtis said they had talked about possibly publishing a book on an alleged conspiracy to sell body parts on a black market, but they later had a feud.

 

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