Dutschke faces new ricin charge

DUTSCHKE

DUTSCHKE

By Patsy R. Brumfield

Daily Journal

OXFORD – J. Everett Dutschke tried to get someone to mail poisonous ricin to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker while Dutschke was in federal custody, a new indictment claims.

At the time, Dutschke was in the Oxford-Lafayette County Detention Center facing charges he masterminded a scheme to send other poison-laden letters to President Barack Obama, Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.

The new filing, called a superseding indictment, takes precedent over the May 31 indictment for which he’s in jail without bond.

Dutschke, 42, a former Tupelo martial arts instructor, was arrested April 27 at his South Canal Street home on a criminal complaint that he “knowingly” developed a biological agent and a delivery system, or attempted to do so.

The new indictment claims that after his arrest and detention, about June 13 to about June 21, Dutschke “attempted to recruit others known to the grand jury” to produce ricin and mail it to Wicker, along with a message that read:

“It doesn’t matter that the Fife types have the wrong one. D. had to be sacrificed to show the corruption in the system. I tried to warn you. Ha. K.”

The initial “K” is an attempt again to frame Dutschke nemesis, Elvis impersonator Kevin Curtis of Corinth, the government states.

The alleged in-jail scheme to threaten Wicker attempted “again to make it appear that Paul Kevin Curtis” mailed the letters, the government adds.

Dutschke maintains he is innocent of all charges.

His attorney, Ken Coghlan of Oxford, could not be contacted for comment on the new charge.

Dutschke continues to be charged with five other counts claiming:

• He knowingly developed ricin and a delivery system between Nov. 17, 2012, and April 17, 2013.

• He sent ricin in letters to Obama, Wicker and Holland.

• He attempted to frame Curtis for the letter scheme.

Curtis was the government’s original suspect, arrested at his home April 17, and held in jail until April 23, when prosecutors admitted they could not link him to ricin.

He told them about his years-long feud with Dutschke, and investigators turned their attention to him. Four days later, they arrested Dutschke.

Wednesday, the U.S. District Court set his trial to begin May 27 in Aberdeen before Judge Sharion Aycock.

If convicted on all counts, Dutschke faces up to life in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Thursday, Coghlan filed a motion to compel the government to provide him with more thorough information about more than 42 expert witnesses prosecutors say they plan to call at trial.

He told the court he needs to decide if he must call as many witnesses to rebut their testimony.

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com