Sheriff Johnson: Fourth suspicious letter not contaminated

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A fourth suspicious letter thought possibly to be from the FBI’s suspect connected to a string of suspicious letters turned out to be nothing, according to Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.
Johnson said local and federal officials looked over the letter and deemed it unrelated and uncontaminated.
The letter had no return address and was sent to David Daniels, a Tupelo attorney who a decade ago said he was assaulted by Paul Kevin Curtis, now charged with threatening President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
The FBI said Thursday that tests confirmed the presence of ricin, a potentially fatal poison, on the letters sent to Obama and Wicker. The letter was sent to Holland last week, and Johnson said the substance on that letter is thought to be ricin and is being tested by the FBI. Results should be available next week.
State Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville has confirmed the recipient was his mother, Judge Sadie Holland. He said she had sniffed the envelope, but was doing fine.
Daniels said he was threatened with a broken beer bottle by Curtis 10 years ago, when Daniels was an assistant district attorney.
“It made my life miserable for almost two years, having to deal with this guy,” Daniels told The Associated Press.
Daniels filed simple assault charges against Curtis and the case was handled by Sadie Holland, who sentenced Curtis to six months in jail.
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans and released by ingesting or processing the beans.
Christina Parker, nursing supervisor for the Mississippi Poison Control Center, said it can be used in a powder, mist or pellet form.
“It basically works by getting into a person’s cells and prevents them from making proteins,” Parker said. “Without the proteins, the cells will die.”
Johnson said in a Wednesday night press conference he doesn’t think anyone who handled the mail is in danger since the poison’s symptoms are evident within the first 12 hours of ingestion.
jb.clark@journalinc.com