Tests link deadly ricin to Obama letters suspect
TUPELO, Mississippi (AP) — Ricin has been found in a business once used by the man charged in the case of letters laced with the deadly poison that were sent to President Barack Obama, according to a court document made public Tuesday that also said the substance was found on items the suspect dumped in a public trash bin.
James Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested Saturday by FBI agents at his home in Mississippi, and is being held without bond pending a preliminary and detention hearing Thursday. He is charged with making and producing ricin as part of investigation into poison-laced letters sent to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge.
The affidavit said that on April 22, Dutschke removed several items from his former martial arts studio in the town of Tupelo, including a dust mask, which tested positive for ricin.
Trace amounts also were found in the studio, and Dutschke bought castor beans on the Internet, the document said. The beans can be used to make ricin.
The affidavit had been sealed since it was filed Friday in U.S. District Court.
The FBI searched Dutschke’s home, vehicles and former studio last week, after dropping charges against an Elvis impersonator who says he had feuded with Dutschke in the past.
Annette Dobbs, who owns the shopping center where the studio was located, said authorities padlocked the door to it sometime after the search. She said Tuesday that FBI agents haven’t told her anything, including whether the building poses a health threat.
Dutschke made a brief court appearance Monday, wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled. He said little other than answering affirmatively to the judge’s questions about whether he understood the charges against him.
Dutschke has denied involvement in the mailing of the letters, saying he’s a patriot with no grudges against anyone. He has previously run for political office and was known to frequent political rallies in northern Mississippi.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.