Paul Kevin Curtis Cleared Of Ricin Letter Charges, But He's Close With New Suspect

Charges were dropped Tuesday against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, for allegedly sending letters laced with poisonous ricin to President Obama, a U.S. Senator, and a county judge. Curtis was arrested last week under charges of threatening the president and the other officials. But a new written order from a federal magistrate has called for the removal of the charges, as new information suggests that another suspect is responsible for the letters. Oddly enough, Curtis has a bizarre history with the new suspect. With both men being at odds with one another and pleading their innocence, authorities may be at a dead end in this case.

FBI searched the home of James Everette Dutschke, 41, on Tuesday, although he claims he has no relation to the case. With his history of shared animosity with Curtis, Curtis's lawyer has reason to believe that Dutschke simply framed him for the crime. Curtis explains his overwhelming joy for the charges being dismissed on CNN's Piers Morgan Live Tuesday:

 

"It's like a train has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm overwhelmed. I'm extremely happy to be vindicated and out and able to see my kids. It looked like a scene out of a movie, I was just overwhelmed. I just kept asking, 'what is ricin? What did I do?'" Curtis said.

While Curtis is not completely out of the woods yet, new developments suggest that Dutschke is a strong person of interest. Dutschke has had several run-ins with the law, including child molestation charges in January. He has been subject to four other arrests since 2000, including charges for cyber harassment.

One of the letters that was retrieved was signed "I am KC and I approve this message." Similar phrases that Curtis has used on social media appeared in the letters as well, including "To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance." Dutschke supposedly had growing suspicions of underground trafficking of human body parts in the U.S. and the nature of the letters addressed these odd concerns. In an interview with a Mississippi newspaper, Dutschke claimed that Curtis is attempting to cover his tracks.

"I guess Kevin got desperate. I feel like he’s getting away with the perfect crime. I don’t know anything about this. Where are the allegations coming from?" he asked. "Who made the allegations?" 

Ricin is a poisonous agent that is found in castor beans. It usually comes in the form of powder, and it can be dissolved in liquids. No reported illnesses have occurred since the discovery of the letters. With both Curtis and Dutschke going back and forth with their allegations for one another, progress in the case does not appear promising. However, based on Dutschke’s extensive history with the law, authorities have warranted further investigation on him while putting Curtis on the backburner for now.

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Shawna Gillen

Shawna is currently studying Political Science and Psychology at Marist College. She has a passion for politics and is an aspiring lawyer. In her spare time she likes to play club women's rugby, and contributes as the Co-News Editor for Marist's student newspaper.

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