By Patsy R. Brumfield
TUPELO – Plans continue to try former Tupelo martial arts instructor J. Everett Dutschke on three fondling charges during the November term of circuit court in Lee County.
The District Attorney’s Office maintains it is ready to prosecute Dutchke, despite his federal indictment associated with a nationally publicized ricin-letter scheme.
Nov. 19 is the court calendar date for the Tupelo trial, which likely will be preceded by what’s called an “803 (25)” hearing to determine the potential validity of prosecution witnesses.
Among those witnesses will be the alleged victims, who claim Dutschke molested them while he was their martial arts instructor.
The April 1 indictments from a Lee County grand jury accuse the former Republican legislative candidate of improperly touching three girls under the ages of 16 in alleged incidents from January 2007 through Jan. 16, 2013.
He was free on $25,000 bond until federal agents arrested him April 27 on the poison letter charges.
In the circuit court case, he is represented by public defender Lori Basham. The federal court recently appointed Ken Coghlan of Oxford as his attorney in that case.
The district court docket shows an Oct. 23 telephone status conference between attorneys and Judge Sharion Aycock. No other details were available on what they talked about.
Less than a month ago, Aycock canceled Dutschke’s Oct. 7 trial start and delayed another trial “under further order of the court.”
Coghlan told the Daily Journal earlier this week that the delay was caused by a lack of information from the government to him about the case and its testing for ricin among various Dutschke items seized last April.
Dutschke’s federal indictment was filed with the U.S. District Court on May 31, accusing him on five counts that he masterminded the poison letter scheme and sent them to President Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
He also was accused of attempting to frame Corinth Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis for the letter scheme.
He continues to be held without bail in the Lafayette County Detention Center in Oxford in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
If convicted on all federal charges, he faces up to life in prison. Maximum punishment on the state charges is 15 years to be served day-for-day and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender.