MS man charged in ricin case - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

MS man charged in ricin case

Everett Dutschke speaks to the media about his home being searched in connection with a federal investigation into a ricin mailing. (Source: WMC-TV) Everett Dutschke speaks to the media about his home being searched in connection with a federal investigation into a ricin mailing. (Source: WMC-TV)
On April 25, authorities searched Everett Dutschke's martial arts studio in Tupelo, MS after naming him a prime suspect. (Source: CNN) On April 25, authorities searched Everett Dutschke's martial arts studio in Tupelo, MS after naming him a prime suspect. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Federal authorities have made an arrest in connection with the poisoned letters sent to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Mississippi judge Sadie Holland.

Authorities said Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, MS, was arrested Saturday following the search of his home and martial arts studio earlier in the week. He has been charged with making and possessing ricin for use as a weapon, according to The Associated Press.

Dutschke is expected to appear Monday in U.S. District Court in Oxford and could face up to life in prison, if convicted.

Dutschke, who spoke to the media outside his home Tuesday, said he agreed to allow his house to be searched. However, he denied involvement.

"I don't know where my wife and kids and I are going to be able to lay our heads down tonight, but hopefully I'll sleep better than I did last night," Dutschke said earlier this week.

Dutschke had gone into hiding to escape the media attention the case has garnered, but was cooperating with authorities prior to his arrest.

Dutschke said he has never handled ricin and that he had no real connection to Paul Kevin Curtis, the man police initially arrested and charged.

"I have no relationship with the guy [Curtis], I have met him on two occasions and that was it," said Dutschke. "Neither one of those occasions gave me any kind of indication that this was the kind of person that I wanted to be around."

Dutschke faced legal troubles in unrelated cases earlier in April. He pleaded not guilty to child molestation charges involving three girls younger than 16 and also appealed a separate conviction on indecent exposure, the Associated Press reported. He did not comment on either of the cases.

Suspicious letters that tested positive for ricin were sent to Obama and Wicker, R-MS, and were reported to have said, "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance."

They were both signed, "I am KC and I approve this message."

Curtis had been arrested earlier in connection to the case, but was released. Curtis' home was searched and no evidence of ricin turned up.

Curtis is an Elvis impersonator, and Dutschke said he and Curtis met on two occasions. They exchanged emails on a third occasion regarding a faked Mensa certificate that Dutschke said Curtis posted on his Facebook page.

Dutschke said he and his family have received threatening phone calls since being implicated Monday night.

Ricin is a poison that is present in castor beans, according the New York State Department of Health. It is part of the waste that is produced during the production of castor oil and as such, is one of the most easily produced plant toxins.

The chemical is extremely deadly, and an amount as small as a pinhead, about 500 micrograms, can be enough to kill.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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