By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
UPDATE – Law enforcement are conducting a search at Traceview Lane in north Tupelo. No official confirmation on if it is related to J. Everett Dutschke case. It looks like they are searching a trailer in the area. Tupelo Police said they could not comment on the search. The law enforcement on scene is not as large as searches that went on previously in the Dutschke case.
OXFORD — A federal grand jury will decide whether a Tupelo man is formally charged with sending poision-laden letters to President Obama and two other elected officials.
U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander this morning ordered the case of J. Everett Dutschke bound over to the next federal grand jury in the nationally notorious letters case.
“It appears to the court that there is probable cause to hold this defendant,” Alexander said, and it will be up to the grand jury to accuse him of either knowingly developing the poison ricin, conspiring to do so, or intending to mail it to the officials, who included U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
Dutschke continues to be held without bond since his arrest Saturday morning.
The next grand jury is expected to convene in just a few days.
In what’s called a preliminary hearing in Oxford this morning, the only witness was FBI Special Agent Stephen E. Thomason, who responded to questions generally about a multi-page affidavit he wrote to secure court permission to arrest Dutschke.
He said lab analysis shows the granular substances in the letters is ricin, a deadly poison, the letters were mailed from Tupelo and that initial forensics links the letters to a printer owned by Dutschke, although more testing must be done to say with more certainty.
Thomason also said another search warrant was issued today for another location where some of Dutschke’s belongings are believed to be, including another printer.
Other new information included, he said, discovery of a third purchase of castor beans by Dutschke. Previously, his report said the FBI discovered two other orders in late 2012.
Dutschke, a 41-year-old Tupelo martial arts instructor, was arrested early Saturday at his South Canal Street home on a federal warrant accusing him of making the poison ricin and a delivery system for its use as a weapon.
He maintains he is innocent.
Dutschke is the second person arrested from an investigation into poison-laden letters mailed to President Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
The FBI says it believes the letters were mailed from Tupelo in early April and were identical in nature, all containing a suspicious granular substance.
Last week, authorities searched Dutschke’s business and claim to have discovered items testing positive for ricin, which is made from castor beans.
They also claimed today that Dutschke twice ordered castor beans through the Internet business eBay and downloaded publications about ricin.
A witness also claims that several years ago Dutschke told him he knew how to make a poison and mail it to public officials.
Dutschke’s attorney, public defender George Lucas, insisted to Alexander that no one had shown any evidence that the substance found in the letters was dangerous or used “as a weapon,” as the initial charge states.
• Come back for more details or read Friday’s Daily Journal.