Investigators haven’t found any ricin in the house of a Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.
Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis’ vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin, ingredients for the poison or devices used to make it. A search of Curtis’ computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.
Defense lawyers for Curtis say investigators’ failure to find any ricin means the government should release their client. That lack of physical evidence could loom large as a detention and preliminary hearing continues this morning. U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Allan Alexander ended the hearing after lunch Monday, citing a personal schedule conflict.
Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Lee County, Miss., judge. The first of the letters was found April 15.
“There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,” Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor. Grant said computer technicians are now doing a “deep dive” on the suspect’s computers after initially finding no “dirty words” indicating Curtis had searched for information on ricin.
Christi McCoy, who is leading the defense for Curtis, said the government doesn’t have probable cause to hold her client and that his history of problems related to bipolar disorder are not enough to keep him in jail.