FBI: No ricin found in suspect's Miss. home Iraq vet pleads guilty to killings Obama's inaugural raised $43M
OXFORD, Miss. -- 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.
Defense lawyers for Curtis said 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.
Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a Lee County, Miss., judge.
"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.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- An Army sergeant pleaded guilty Monday to killing four other soldiers and a Navy officer in 2009 at mental health clinic in Baghdad during the Iraq War.
The plea at a military court at Joint Base Lewis-McChord means Sgt. John Russell will avoid the death sentence. His maximum sentence would be a life term.
Russell -- who is from Sherman, Texas -- went on a shooting spree at the Camp Liberty Combat Stress Center near Baghdad in May 2009.
Russell was nearing the end of his third tour when his behavior changed, members of his unit testified in 2009. They said he became more distant in the days before the May 11, 2009, attack and that he seemed paranoid that his unit was trying to end his career.
On May 8, Russell sought help at a combat stress clinic at Camp Stryker, where his unit was located. On May 10, Russell was referred to the Camp Liberty clinic, where he received counseling and prescription medication. The following day witnesses saw Russell crying and talking about hurting himself. He went back to the Camp Liberty clinic, where a doctor told him he needed to get help or he would hurt himself. Russell tried to surrender to military police to lock him up so he wouldn't hurt himself or others, witnesses said.
Military prosecutors say Russell left the clinic and later returned with a rifle he took from his unit headquarters and began firing.
Two evaluations presented during a 2009 hearing said Russell suffered from severe depression with psychotic features and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's inaugural committee raised more than $43 million for his second inauguration, with corporations chipping in a major portion.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show the committee fell about $7 million short of its $50 million fundraising goal.
For his first inauguration, Obama raised $53 million in private money, turning away corporations and individual contributions exceeding $50,000. This time, Obama reversed that policy.