Slatest PM: The Elvis Impersonator Allegedly Behind the Ricin Scare

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 18 2013 4:44 PM

Slatest PM: The Bizarre Story of the Elvis Impersonator Allegedly Behind the Ricin Scare

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WASHINGTON - JANUARY 12: U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) (R) speaks as Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill January 12, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Republican legislators briefed the media on a recent Congressional delegation to Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

"You Will Run Again": USA Today: "President Obama found himself at an all too familiar event Thursday; a somber ceremony where he tried to comfort victims of a deadly tragedy. 'Everyone of us has been touched by the attack on your beloved city,' Obama said, speaking at an interfaith service dedicated to the three people killed and 176 injured in twin bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon. 'For millions of us, what happened in Boston Monday is personal,'' he said at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross as part of a 90-minute service that included comments by clergy, Boston Mayor Thomas Merino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Speaking to those who lost limbs or were severely injured at the marathon's finish line, Obama vowed 'you will run again.'"

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Ongoing Investigation: Boston Globe: "Authorities have clear video images of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings carrying black bags at the explosion sites and are planning to release the images today in an appeal for the public’s help in identifying the men, according to an official briefed on the case. The official said that the two suspects were seen separately on videotape — one at each of the two bombing sites, which are located about a block apart. The official, who spoke this morning on the condition of anonymity, said the best video has come from surveillance cameras on the same side of Boylston Street as the explosions. The official said the widely reported Lord and Taylor surveillance camera, which is across the street, and snapshots from individual cellphone camera users, have not provided the clearest images. It was unclear why authorities did not publicize images of the unidentified suspects Wednesday. Jason Pack, a supervisory special agent with the FBI’s national office, said today that the agency has not made a determination on whether there will be a press conference, or whether to release photos."

***UPDATE: The FBI this evening released photos and video of two suspects in the bombing. Take a look here. Anyone with information about either man should call 1-800-CALL-FBI.***

Meanwhile, in Texas: New York Times: "Rescue workers searched the rubble of a fertilizer plant on Thursday, looking for missing firefighters and survivors of a huge explosion that tore through this small central Texas town on Wednesday night, killing as many as 15 people and injuring more than 160 others, laying waste to buildings and potentially sending toxic fumes into the air, the authorities said. Homes and businesses were leveled in the normally quiet town of West, just north of Waco, and there was widespread destruction in the downtown area, Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department said Thursday morning. 'At some point this will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search and rescue,' he said. ... At least five people were killed and scores were being treated at area hospitals, Sergeant Swanton said, while emphasizing that early estimates of casualties could change. Three to five firefighters were missing, he said, mostly first responders from a volunteer fire department who rushed to the scene before the blast."

High-End Estimate: Wall Street Journal: "As many as 40 people may have died in a fertilizer-plant explosion here, including up to 10 emergency personnel, according to Mayor Tommy Muska. ... Mr Muska said the discovery off additional survivors is unlikely. More than 150 people were injured in the fire and explosion. The blast damaged 75 homes, and a school near the plant, officials said. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he has asked the federal government for a disaster declaration to mobilize more help for this small community devastated by a deadly fertilizer-plant explosion."

Happy Thursday and welcome back to The Slatest PM, where we hope you didn't miss us too much these past two weeks. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

The Ricin Suspect: Associated Press: "A Mississippi man charged with mailing letters with suspected ricin to national leaders believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market, and on Thursday his attorney said he was surprised by his arrest and maintains he is innocent. Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, wore shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt Thursday in a federal courtroom. His handcuffs were taken off for the brief hearing, and he said little. He faces two charges on accusations of threatening President Barack Obama and others. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison."

Oh, It Gets Weirder: Politico: "Sen. Roger Wicker said he had once hired and met the Elvis impersonator who was charged Thursday with sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and the senator. Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, told reporters the suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, lived not far from his hometown of Tupelo. The senator had briefly spoken with Curtis a decade ago at a social gathering he and other friends had hosted back when Wicker was serving in the House. ... 'He’s an Elvis impersonator. He entertained at a party that my wife and I helped give for a young couple that was getting married. He was quite entertaining,' Wicker told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday. 'A number of couples gave a party and he was the entertainer and we kicked in on our share.'"

Live to Fight Another Day: Washington Post: "Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday that the Senate will 'take a pause' and return to consideration of gun legislation at a later date. 'Yesterday, President Obama said it was a shameful day for the Senate, and it probably was, I agree. But we should make no mistake: This debate is not over, in fact this fight is just beginning,' Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday. ... Before making the announcement, Reid consulted with the White House about pulling the bill, and the White House supported the move, according to a White House official familiar with the talks. ... 'We’re going to come back to this bill,' Reid said."

Quietly Coming Out: Los Angeles Times: "Ex-Baylor star Brittney Griner likes to remind all the girls and young women who idolize her to just be themselves and not worry what others think. Griner was doing just that this week while discussing her sexual orientation, apparently for the first time with the media. The new member of the Phoenix Mercury, chosen No. 1 overall in Monday's WNBA, did not make a big deal about the fact that she is a lesbian, making no big coming-out announcement. But she did not hide from the topic either when it was pertinent to the issues being discussed."

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