America

Mississippi Man Indicted In Ricin Letters Case

James Everett Dutschke has been indicted on five counts related to letters containing the poison ricin that were sent to President Obama and others.

James Everett Dutschke has been indicted on five counts related to letters containing the poison ricin that were sent to President Obama and others. Rogelio V. Solis/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Rogelio V. Solis/AP

James Everett Dutschke, the Mississippi man arrested in April on suspicions that he sent letters containing the poison ricin to President Obama and other officials, has been indicted on five federal charges, from sending threats in the mail to knowingly making and possessing "a biological agent... for use as a weapon."

Maximum punishments for the counts leveled against Dutschke, 41, range from five years to life in prison.

A federal grand jury in Mississippi's Northern District indicted Dutschke on charges that he put ricin in letters he mailed to the president, to Sen. Roger Wicker, and to state judge Sadie Holland, according to the indictment, which was filed Friday and released publicly Monday.

One charge accuses Dutschke of devising a scheme to cover his tracks and "to make it appear that Paul Kevin Curtis had mailed threatening letters."

Authorities say that all three letters included versions of a note in which the author wrote, "There are still 'Missing Pieces." The note then said, "Maybe I have your attention now Even if that means someone must die." They all ended with the same sentence: "I am KC and I approve this message."

That sign-off likely played a role in the arrest of Paul Kevin Curtis, a rival of Dutschke's who was held in federal custody for several days before being released — a development he welcomed with a jubilant news conference at which he avowed his "contempt for rice" and anything that sounds like "ricin."

Dutschke, who has maintained his innocence, "is expected to appear Thursday in Oxford before U. S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander," reports the Tupelo, Miss., Daily Journal. "Since his arrest, the former martial arts instructor has been held without bond in the Lafayette County Detention Center."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.