Sentencing date set for Dutschke on ricin charges

DUTSCHKE

DUTSCHKE

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – James Everett Dutschke will be sentenced on charges of making ricin and mailing poisoned letters to the president and two other public officials next month.

Dutschke, 42, will be sentenced May 14 before U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen.

Dutschke pleaded guilty to the ricin plot in January after previously saying he had nothing to do with sending the ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland last April and then framing another individual for the crime.

His guilty plea to four counts brought a recommendation from federal prosecutors for a 25-year sentence. It would run concurrently with any sentence that may result from three fondling charges against Dutschke, a former Tupelo martial arts instructor, in Lee County Circuit Court.

During the change of plea hearings for the federal ricin-plot charges and the state fondling charges, Dutschke tried to dance around admission of guilt before both Aycock and Lee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Funderburk made him take a firm stance of guilt or proceed with a trial based on evidence brought by the government.

Dutschke faced a maximum penalty of life in prison on the production of the letter. He has been in the Lafayette County Detention Center since last April without bond.

Part of Dutschke’s plea agreement stipulates that a later ricin-related charge will be dropped. A Nov. 20 indictment alleges that while in jail he attempted to recruit others to acquire ricin and send it in a letter to Wicker.

jb.clark@journalinc.com