He was christened with three first names. Perhaps it was some subliminal motivator for Mississippian Paul Kevin Curtis to be a multi-tasker.
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The man who by day was a janitor, by night an Elvis impersonator and somewhere in between an alleged conspiratorial firebrand capable of sending poison letters to those he felt were unwilling to listen to his message.
"My name is Kevin Curtis. My whole name is Paul Kevin Curtis, he said in a video clip from 2001 posted on YouTube. "I always went by Kevin. I don't know why my parents gave me three first names and never even called me by the first one.'
But, as of Wednesday afternoon when he was picked up by authorities at his home in the Corinth, Miss., public housing subdivision of West Hill, the clock on Curtis' "15 minutes of fame" is ticking.
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The 45-year-old janitor and part-time Elvis impersonator is in an Oxford federal jail facing charges stemming from sending threatening letters containing suspected ricin, a poison, to President Barack Obama, Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and a Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
Neighbors Lacey Ross and Heather Gilliland watched as city police and Alcorn County Sheriff's deputies stood guard to keep onlookers away from Curtis' house and car. Ross remembered the odd circumstances surrounding Curtis moving into the small brick house.
"When I first saw moving in, it was an older man and an older woman," Ross recalled. "Then out of nowhere here he pops up. I was thinking he moved in around November or December. But, really I'm the only one he's ever talked to over here. He just introduced himself one time."
Yet, while Ross described him as a quiet neighbor, Curtis apparently was vociferous on his Facebook page where his hatred of governmental figures and alleged conspiracies theories were fueled by the belief they were out to ruin him.
"He talks about, he's very anti-government," said Gilliland. "He talks about people doing organ harvesting. He said on his Facebook he's been arrested 22 times and he was going to keep fighting the fight whatever that is. He's out there."
It was his impersonation of Elvis which garnered him a 1999 feature article in a Tupelo newspaper. In the article he spoke of his obsession with the Memphis rock singer from an early age, telling his mother he'd buy her a mansion. He appeared regularly in Elvis tribute shows around Tupelo.
He met Sen. Wicker when he was hired to do his Elvis act at an engagement party. But, later on his website, Curtis said Wicker avoided talking with him about his alleged conspiracy theories involving the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
In a statement issued Thursday, a spokesperson for Elvis Presley Enterprises said they had never heard of Curtis nor had he ever participated in any sanctioned events.
In a Tupelo Daily Journal interview in 1999, Curtis claimed he was married with four children. Yet, neighbors say they never saw a wife and he seldom had visitors. However, they did notice when Curtis placed something on the outside of his house just days ago.
"My boyfriend actually saw him installing a camera outside," Ross said. "He has a camera above his shutter over there."
"I knew that he wasn't suppose to have it," added Matthew Latch, neighbor. "If the security guards had seen him with it on there then he would have got wrote up by one of the security guards."
In a final twist, one of Curtis' videos has written on it the line, "I am KC and I approve this message;" the same wording authorities allege was written on the letters sent to his three intended targets.
"Really just now talking about it, I just got chills," Ross said.
Curtis made a brief court appearance Thursday in an Oxford federal courtroom wearing shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt. Attorney Christi R. McCoy said he "maintains 100 percent" that he is innocent. He did not enter pleas to the two federal charges against him. He is due back in court Friday afternoon.
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