Charges dismissed against ricin-letter suspect - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Charges dismissed against ricin-letter suspect

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Jack Curtis, left, and his brother Paul Kevin Curtis (Tom Dees / FOX13 News) Jack Curtis, left, and his brother Paul Kevin Curtis (Tom Dees / FOX13 News)
OXFORD, Miss. (FOX13) -

After spending almost a week behind bars, Elvis tribute artist Paul Kevin Curtis was released from federal custody and his charges were dismissed on Tuesday.

He had been accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee county, Miss., Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland. While he was released, federal authorities searched at another Mississippi man's home in connection with the case.

"I am holding today the order of dismissal that dismisses the charges lodged against Paul Kevin Curtis," said Christi McCoy, his attorney, in front of the federal court house in Oxford, Miss.

McMoy had argued  from the start in federal court that there was absolutely no connection between her client and the three ricin-laced letters. Curtis openly expressed his affection for Sen. Wicker and President Obama.

READ: Government drops charges against Paul Kevin Curtis

"I love my country and I would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official," Curtis said. "This past week has been a nightmare for me as well as my children."

In the process of the detention hearing Curtis gave his attorneys a list of people who may have possibly framed him, which has in turn lead investigators elsewhere.

"The government was basically able to find another suspect who we believe is the true perpetrator of this crime," said Phillip Neilson, Curtis' attorney. "We are just elated and blessed and pleased that the government saw what Christi and I saw from the beginning of this case."


Through his lawyers, Curtis has denied involvement in the letters.

"The searches are concluded, not one single shred of evidence was found to indicate Kevin could have done this," McCoy told reporters after a hearing Monday.

McCoy said in court that someone may have framed Curtis. She questioned why Curtis would have signed the letters "I am KC and I approve this message," a phrase he had used on his Facebook page.

Later, at the news conference, Curtis said the past week had been a nightmare for his family.

Referring to questioning by investigators, Curtis said: "I thought they said rice, and I said 'I don't even eat rice.'"

FBI Agent Brandon Grant said in court on Monday that searches last week of Curtis' vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., found no ricin, ingredients for the poison, or devices used to make it. A search of Curtis' computers found no evidence he researched making ricin. Authorities produced no other physical evidence at the hearings tying Curtis to the letters.

Curtis was arrested last Wednesday at his house in Corinth, Miss. The first of the letters was found two days earlier.

Grant testified Friday that authorities tried to track down the sender of the letters by using a list of Wicker's constituents with the initials KC, the same initials in the letters. Grant said the list was whittled from thousands to about 100 when investigators isolated the ones who lived in an area that would have a Memphis, Tenn., postmark, which includes many places in north Mississippi. He said Wicker's staff recognized Curtis as someone who had written the senator before.

All the envelopes and stamps were self-adhesive, Grant said Monday, meaning they won't yield DNA evidence. He said thus far the envelopes and letters haven't yielded any fingerprints.

During the news conference Curtis joked about "Jailhouse Rock" as the most fitting Elvis song for his situation. But Curtis and brother, Jack Curtis, instead chose to sing another Elvis song as they left the courthouse.

"Love me tender, love me true, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so, love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darling I love you and I always will. Thank you, thank you very much!"

Curtis said he and his brother Jack would like to reunite their Guinness Book of World Record-setting group "Double Trouble" and start doing shows again.


Associated Press reporters Jeff Amy and Emily Wagster Pettus contributed to this report.

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