By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal
While Paul Kevin Curtis awaits completion of a hearing to determine if his case will be presented to a grand jury and if he will be released on bail, his ex-wife is speaking out in his defense.
Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Corinth on federal charges of intentionally mailing threats to public officials. President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo and Lee County Justice Judge Sadie Holland were among the alleged recipients of the letters containing ricin, a deadly substance derived from castor beans.
Laura Curtis of Booneville, his former wife, contacted the Daily Journal on Saturday to say she fully supports her ex-husband and among friends and family members “none of us believe he did this.”
Curtis appeared in court on Friday but after three hours of proceedings Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander recessed the hearing until Monday.
Defense attorney Christi R. McCoy called the only witness on Friday, FBI Special Agent Brandon Grant. Grant testified investigators are currently unable to link Curtis to ricin and found no evidence of his fingerprints on any of the letters. The agency is awaiting DNA and other lab results from evidence they collected from Curtis’ home.
Grant testified in court Friday that Laura Curtis told investigators that Kevin Curtis suffers from bipolar disorder and had been extremely violent toward her and that he had threatened to kill her and had raped her.
Laura Curtis did not dispute the accuracy of Grant’s testimony but claimed “only one percent of the truth came out.” She said she and her children remain very close to her ex-husband.
“We see each other almost every day,” she said, adding that Kevin Curtis was on his way to her house when he was arrested leaving his Corinth home. Though the couple divorced in 2002, she said he remained active in the lives of her and their children and that despite going through difficult times, she has forgiven him. “We’ve always put our children first,” she said.
Laura Curtis said she is pursuing a degree in criminal justice and hopes to become a lawyer one day. She described herself as “a patriotic American” and said if she believed he did this, she would turn him in.
She has spoken to Kevin Curtis since his arrest. She said, “I asked him, did he do this, and he said ‘I did not.’” Laura Curtis said she gave the FBI the names of other people she believes might have sent the letters in an attempt to frame her ex-husband.
“Anybody could get his tagline,” she said.
The letters in question were signed “I am KC and I approve this message,” a phrase often used by Curtis in his writings about the alleged conspiracy. The three letters also said: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance,” a quote Kevin Curtis posted on his public Facebook profile.
She said the FBI has been easy to work with and she believes investigators will find the person responsible for sending the letters.
Laura Curtis acknowledged that Kevin frequently posted online statements about conspiracies against him and that because of his illness, he does experience paranoia.
Kevin Curtis has a history of writing and emailing public officials regarding an alleged conspiracy involving the sale of organs and other body parts he claims to have uncovered while doing custodial work at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo more than a decade ago.
“He is a different person than you or I,” she said. “He just wanted to get his message out.” But she contends he is not capable of this type of crime.
North Mississippi Medical Center, which confirmed last week that Curtis had been fired from his job at NMMC, said it works with an agency that specializes in harvesting organs and tissue from donors, and then immediately transports those organs for donation. The hospital said it does not receive payment for the donated organs.
Laura Curtis said she and her family want “to see him on the right medication and be the father that he can be. In the years of our marriage when he was on medication, he was a fully functional human being, a wonderful human being.”