Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Affidavit: Ricin suspect tried to ditch materials
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, and once bragged to an unidentified acquaintance of having "a secret knowledge" of "getting rid of people in the office."
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. Dutschke had originally said he hadn't been to the studio since April 15, but when agents said they'd watched him go there on April 22, he changed his story, the affidavit says.
The source of the Dutschke-Curtis feud was unclear. It seemed in part to revolve around who was smarter.