Criminal Justice

A new arrest is made in ricin case; suspect had been feuding with prior arrestee


FBI agents arrested a new suspect on Saturday in the case of the ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge.

James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, was accused after charges were dropped against a prior suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, report the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Daily Beast and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Curtis has said he was framed for the crime.

Dutschke and Curtis had a history of arguments. They had an early falling out when Dutschke refused to publish in his local newsletter Curtis’ allegations that a local hospital was involved in organ harvesting, according to acquaintances and Curtis’ brother, Jack, who spoke with the Wall Street Journal. Also, Dutschke, a former Mensa member, had threatened to sue Curtis over Curtis’ false claim that he was a member of Mensa. They also fought over musical abilities: Curtis was an Elvis impersonator while Dutschke was a member of a blues band.

Dutschke made an unsuccessful run for a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. His opponent was the son of Judge Sadie Holland, one of the three officials who received ricin-laced letters.

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 attorney, Lori Nail Basham, has previously said he had nothing to do with the letters.

Dutschke is also facing two child molestation charges involving three girls younger than 16, AP says. The Daily Beast says the charges related to Dutschke’s now defunct taekwondo studio. He has pleaded not guilty.

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