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Mississippi man indicted, allegedly sent ricin letters to Obama and other officials

By Carol Cratty, CNN
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
President Barack Obama salutes as he returns to the White House after a trip to Chicago on Thursday, May 30. Federal authorities searched the home of a Texas man on Friday in connection with an investigation into threatening letters, possibly tainted with ricin, that were sent to Obama. President Barack Obama salutes as he returns to the White House after a trip to Chicago on Thursday, May 30. Federal authorities searched the home of a Texas man on Friday in connection with an investigation into threatening letters, possibly tainted with ricin, that were sent to Obama.
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Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
Federal authorities continue ricin investigations
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The indictment says the defendant tried to blame another man
  • The other man was arrested, then later released
  • The 5-count indictment charges James Everett Dutschke with using ricin as a weapon
  • Letters were sent to Obama and two others

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.

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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.

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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."

What is ricin?

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.

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