Ricin-case suspect tried to throw away tainted materials, federal affidavit says

Los Angeles Times

A Mississippi martial-arts teacher tried to throw away ricin-tainted materials and had a manual about the poison on his computer, according to a federal affidavit unsealed Tuesday.

James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., was charged Saturday with having and/or making ricin and sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama; U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; and a local judge. Ricin is deadly in small doses, and there is no antidote. It can be inhaled, injected or ingested.

The charges came after one of Dutschke’s nemeses, a local Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis, had been arrested days earlier. Officials dropped those charges after finding no trace of ricin in Curtis’ home and no record of his searching the Internet about the poison.

Curtis’ attorneys gave authorities a list of people who might have grudges against him, and Dutschke was among them.

The threatening letters, which had been mailed from Tupelo, duplicated facets of Curtis’ publicly available writings. Dutschke, of Tupelo, and Curtis, of nearby Corinth, had feuded for years.

The government affidavit says Dutschke had the means and the know-how to make the poison.

The day before Curtis was freed from jail last week, the affidavit says, investigators followed Dutschke to his martial-arts studio, Tupelo Taekwondo Plus, where he grabbed a few things and tossed them in a trash bin 100 yards away.

After Dutschke left, agents checked the trash bin and found a coffee grinder, a dust mask and latex gloves — with the mask testing positive for ricin, according to the affidavit.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.