By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Insurance agent Jack Curtis returned to work Thursday, but his mind wandered away from his business while followed updates on the case in which his brother was accused.
Just days after his brother, Kevin, a Corinth Elvis tribute artist, was arrested April 17 by the FBI related to accusations of sending ricin-laced letters April 8 to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland, Jack Curtis watched his brother on national news sharing his story after federal and local authorities dropped charges for lack of evidence. Those charges were dropped Tuesday and the FBI started searching the home and business of James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo.
Between checking messages on Facebook, reading the latest national news stories about his brother and Dutschke, a former employee, and answering questions from friends, Curtis still wonders how things will unfold.
“He was never a problem here,” Jack Curtis said on the phone to someone asking about Dutschke, a rival of Curtis’ brother and a current person of interest related to the poison-laced letters investigation. “He was a genius.”
Jack Curtis recalled the outgoing, smart and Republican-leaning Dutschke working at his office for more than a year, until Curtis retired from a larger insurance company and began working for himself.
While he can’t recall whether he donated cash or materials to his former employee’s state House of Representatives political campaign to unseat Steve Holland, who is Judge Sadie Holland’s son, Jack Curtis said he wanted to support Dutschke’s efforts.
Jack Curtis, also an Elvis tribute performer, and other family members still wonder about what led Kevin Curtis and Dutschke, both musicians, to have heated feuds. However, Jack Curtis suspects it has something to do with Kevin trying to convince Dutschke to publish a story in his short-lived newsletter about Kevin’s belief that the North Mississippi Medical Center operated a black-market scheme to sell body parts.
Kevin Curtis was fired as a janitor at the Tupelo hospital shortly after asking questions about body parts he says he saw at the hospital. NMMC has issued statements strongly denying any such activity.
The posion-laced letters sent to elected officials included a similar phrase to his online postings: “This is KC and I approve this Message.” Christi McCoy, Curtis’ attorney, suggested people such as Dutschke or other rivals may have set him up.
Jack Curtis doesn’t believe his brother would have been capable of producing ricin, a produced from castor beans, and said he never believed that he was guilty of the crimes. However, Jack released a statement on behalf of his family on the day of Kevin’s arrest saying how they’d struggled to help him cope with bipolar disorder.
With Kevin released from jail and making media rounds telling his side of the story, Jack Curtis said he’ll explain to his brother when things settle down why he made public Kevin’s medical struggles.
“I was trying to help him legally,” Jack Curtis said Thursday. “And it’s the truth. I was afraid he was going to be railroaded by the government.”