Mississippi Man Arrested in Ricin Case

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 27 2013 1:20 PM

Ricin Suspect Charged With Attempted Use of a Biological Weapon

castor beans
Ricin is a deadly poison made from castor beans

Photo by Ombrosoparacloucycle/Flickr

The second time’s the charm? Federal agents arrested a 41-year-old Mississippi martial arts instructor Saturday after his home and business were searched as part of the investigation into the ricin-laced letters that were sent to President Obama and two other public officials, reports Reuters. Everett Dutschke was taken into custody at his home in Tupelo a few days after agents searched his home and a martial arts studio he ran in the city. He was charged with "knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin."

On Tuesday, charges were dropped against Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who said he had been framed by Dutschke. Earlier this month, letters tainted with ricin were sent to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and an 80-year-old judge, Sadie Holland, notes the Associated Press.  

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Dutschke already faces charges relating to an indictment “for fondling three different children between ages 7 and 16, from 2007 to 2013,” points out Reuters. Dutschke's attorney had said earlier this week her client denied any involvement with the ricin-laced letters.

This post has been updated with new information since it was originally published.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.