Brief Hearing Held In Ricin Letters Case

OXFORD, Miss. (WJZ) –A Mississippi man faces a judge on a charge that he sent letters laced with poison to the president and others.

Mary Bubala reports the suspect was arrested after police dropped charges against his longtime enemy.

James Dutschke was brought to federal court Monday wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled.

Federal agents arrested him at his home on Saturday. At the time, the 41-year-old karate teacher said he had nothing to do with the poisoned letters.

“My family knows I didn’t have anything to do with this,” he said. “The people who actually know me know I didn’t have anything to do with this. And quite frankly, the people that don’t know that this is just crazy, this is just insane.”

The letters were sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.

Both letters tested positive for ricin but were intercepted in Maryland before they reached their targets.

Another letter was sent to a Mississippi judge.

Charges were originally filed against Paul Kevin Curtis.

“When you’ve been charged with something you’ve never heard of, ricin or whatever. I thought they said rice, so I said, ‘I don’t even eat rice,’” Curtis said.

Curtis reportedly told investigators he had been framed, which led them to Dutschke. According to Curtis, the two men had been feuding for years.

“I would like to move on with my life and find out what normal is again,” Curtis said.

At the time of his arrest, Dutschke was out on bond, facing two charges of child molestation.

If he’s found guilty of sending the ricin-tainted letters, he could face life in prison.

Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday, where more details about the charges and evidence are expected.

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