By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
UPDATE 2:45 p.m.
OXFORD — Federal prosecutors have asked for a delay in today’s scheduled 3 p.m. preliminary hearing for Paul Kevin Curtis. They say they need more time to gather evidence.
Curtis’ attorney, Christi McCoy, called the move a stalling tactic.
OXFORD – The man federal authorities claim mailed poison-filled letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland will hear formal charges against him today in federal court.
Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Corinth on Thursday heard U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander ask if he understood what was going on around him and why he was under arrest.
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered steadily as his attorney, Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, stood before the judge.
After the hearing, McCoy said her client is “completely innocent” of the charges.
Curtis, a well-known Elvis tribute artist and small businessman, was arrested by federal agents Wednesday in connection with their investigation into allegedly threatening letters to the three officials.
Thursday, documents filed with the court accused him of two crimes – mailing a letter threatening the life or to harm the President of the United States, and mailing any communication threatening to injure the person to whom it is addressed.
If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
U.S. marshals escorted Curtis into the small courtroom, his ankles shackled and his hands cuffed.
He wore black jogging pants with three white stripes down each side and a black T-shirt with a “Ring of Fire” logo of country music icon Johnny Cash on its front.
During this 10-minute hearing, he looked and behaved normally.
His arraignment and bond hearing is set for 3 p.m. today before Alexander. He is being held in the Lafayette County Detention Center near the federal courthouse in Oxford.
Thursday, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marshall Alexander asked the judge not to allow bail.
The judge will determine if sufficient evidence exists to hold Curtis for a federal grand jury to consider whether he should be indicted.
An FBI affidavit, presented to the media by prosecutors, claims that between April 8 and April 17, Curtis mailed these threatening letters containing what some authorities say they believe to be the poison ricin, derived from castor beans.
The letters to Obama and Wicker were intercepted by federal mail security systems, but Holland apparently opened hers in her Tupelo office.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the same typed message on yellow paper was mailed to them.
“To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance,” the three messages stated, ending with the phrase, “I am KC and I approve this message.”
Curtis’ Facebook page also shows similar phrases, where he refers to himself as “KC.”
Curtis’ name came to investigators after U.S. Capitol police asked Wicker’s staff about any constituents who’d written his office, signing with the initials “KC.”
They reportedly gave police Curtis’ name, saying he’d sent multiple communications to Wicker with the phrase “this is KEVIN CURTIS and I approved this message.”
“No one wanted to listen to me
There are still ‘Missing Pieces’
Maybe I have your attention now
Even if that means someone
This must stop.
To see a wrong and not expose
is to become a silent partner to
I am KC and I approve this message”
SOURCE: FBI affidavit against
Paul Kevin Curtis