Charges dropped against man suspected of sending ricin letters - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Charges dropped against man suspected of sending ricin letters

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Charges have been dropped against Paul Kevin Curtis, who was suspect of sending toxic letters to politicians. (Source: Facebook) Charges have been dropped against Paul Kevin Curtis, who was suspect of sending toxic letters to politicians. (Source: Facebook)
Paul Kevin Curtis, left, and his lawyer Christie McCoy answer questions after Curtis was released from custody. (Source: CNN) Paul Kevin Curtis, left, and his lawyer Christie McCoy answer questions after Curtis was released from custody. (Source: CNN)

OXFORD, MS (RNN) - Charges were dropped against a man suspected of sending letters containing a toxin to politicians, including President Barack Obama.

Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody on bond earlier on Tuesday. It is possible for the prosecutors to reinstate charges should they decide to do so.

"I would like to thank all of my family, friends and fans for their love and support this week," said Curtis. "I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him [President Obama] or any U.S. official."

Suspicious letters that tested positive for ricin were sent to President Barack Obama and Senator Roger Wicker, R-MS, last week 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 thanked Sen. Wicker for his kind words about him and said he had "nothing but respect" for the president.

This phrase appeared on Curtis' Facebook page. Curtis told reporters he's changing his social media habits as a result.

Wicker had hired Curtis, who is an Elvis impersonator, to perform at an event.

Curtis' lawyer, Christie McCoy, stated that investigators may have other suspects in mind, and has maintained that Curtis has been framed. Law enforcement has not confirm this, but CNN reports that investigators are looking to see if someone tried to falsely implicate Curtis.

The FBI testified that no ricin was found during a search at Curtis' home.

The Associated Press reports that the FBI was searching the home of another Mississippi man, Everett Dutschke, in Tupelo. Dutschke has denied any involvement.

Dutschke, who spoke outside his home Tuesday, said he agreed to allow his home to be searched.

"I don't know where my wife and kids are going to be able to heads tonight, but hopefully I will sleep better than I did last night," said Dutschke.

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

Dutschke said he and Curtis met on two occasions and exchanged emails on third occasion regarding a faked MENSA certificate that Dutschke said Curtis posted on his Facebook page.

"I have no relationship with the guy [Kevin 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 said he has never handled ricin.

Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. officials said a suspicious package was found at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Tuesday morning, according to the Associated Press. The package was found at a Defense Intelligence Agency mail sorting facility on the base.

It is unclear if this package contained a letter with the same message as the letters sent to Wicker and Obama.

The DIA said tests showed possible biological toxins, and the agency is back to normal operations, according to the AP.

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.

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