Mississippi man charged in ricin case
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, April 27, 2013, 5:57 p.m.
BRANDON, Miss. — A Mississippi man was charged on Saturday with making and possessing ricin for use as a weapon as part of the investigation into poison-laced letters sent to President Obama and others, authorities said.
U.S. Attorney Felicia Adams and Daniel McMullen, the FBI agent in charge in Mississippi, made the announcement in a news release following the arrest of 41-year-old James Everett Dutschke.
FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said Dutschke was arrested about 12:50 a.m. Saturday in his home in Tupelo.
The letters, which tests showed were tainted with ricin, were sent on April 8 to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and 80-year-old Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland.
Dutschke is expected to appear on Monday in U.S. District Court in Oxford.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.
The news release said Dutschke was charged with “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin.”
Dutschke's house, business and vehicles were searched earlier last week and he had been under surveillance.
Dutschke's attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said in a text message that “the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke's arrest. We have no comment at this time.”
Last week, Basham said 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 that “because the investigation is still ongoing, we're not able to comment.”
Charges in the case initially were filed against an Elvis impersonator but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who authorities say 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,” Dutschke said.
Charges were dropped against, Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, the Elvis impersonator, when authorities said they had discovered new information. Curtis' lawyers say he was framed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suspense builds for pipeline report
- FBI’s elite surveillance team trying to find ‘Mo’
- Survivors honor Pearl Harbor’s heroes
- Obama puts odds of nuclear deal at 50-50
- New York City mayor’s tax breaks generous
- Deported vet glad he’s back in states
- Auction features author’s trove
- U.S. apple growers eye open trade with China
- Car hits deer, which flies into jogger
- Boy has emergency, dies on flight to visit family
- Former top Obama aide to work on health law