UPDATES: NMMC confirms firing of ricin suspect

By NEMS Daily Journal Staff Report


North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo says the man charged with mailing letters with suspected ricin was fired from the facility more than a decade ago, The Associated Press reports.

NMMC issued a statement Thursday saying Paul Kevin Curtis began working there in 1998 and was terminated in 2000. It did not give a reason for his firing but says it was not because of allegations he made against the hospital.

Curtis has written in online postings that he uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market while working there.

However, the hospital says it works with an agency that specializes in harvesting organs and tissue from donors, and then immediately transports those organs for donation. The hospital says it does not receive payment for the donated organs.

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Sen. Roger Wicker says he once hired the man accused of mailing suspicious letters as an Elvis impersonator, The Associated Press reports.

Wicker said Thursday in Washington that he had met Paul Kevin Curtis when he was working as Elvis at a party Wicker and his wife helped throw for an engaged couple.

Wicker called him “quite entertaining” but said: “My impression is that since that time he’s had mental issues and perhaps is not as stable as he was back then.”

Wicker’s spokesman, Ryan Annison, said the party occurred about 10 years ago.

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State Rep. Steve Holland tells Daily Journal’s Robbie Ward that his mother Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland sniffed the envelope with the unknown substance, but she is OK.

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Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said a fourth suspicious envelope delivered to David Daniels, an attorney with a restraining order placed against the FBIs suspect, was not contaminated or related, Daily Journal’s JB Clark reports.

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By Lena Mitchell
NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Several of Paul “Kevin” Curtis’ neighbors were shocked Wednesday night when Curtis was captured as he tried to evade the FBI in their Redwood Drive cul de sac in Corinth.

Curtis was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker.

Kayla and Matthew Latch live next door west of Curtis’ 802 Redwood Drive, House 3, residence in the West Hills public housing subdivision known locally as Mini City.

“My room is at the end of the house right next to his house,” Kayla Latch said Thursday morning. “I couldn’t sleep in my room last night. Yesterday we were babysitting my three-year-old cousins and their 10-year-old brother, so I’m glad we weren’t outside.”

Kayla and Matthew’s older brother, Tyler Latch, witnessed Curtis trying to run from law enforcement in his white SUV.

“He looked outside and saw him and called my mama and the rest of us,” Matthew Latch said. “They blocked him in with two cars, then there were three more cars that came.”

Across the cul de sac, Lacey Ross was returning to her 805 Redwood Drive, House 6, residence about 9 p.m. and was blocked from entering by the police until she showed identification that she lived there. She had met Curtis once, only briefly, but he “seemed nice.”

“It freaked me out because when I met him I was with my 7-year-old daughter who has mild autism,” Ross said. “He had this sweet little dog and we talked about that people said I should get a dog and it would be good for my little girl.”

Ross said she was surprised when she saw Curtis living in the house because the day he moved in she only saw an elderly couple and thought they were probably his parents moving there. She hasn’t seen them since then.

Matthew Latch said the dog was with Curtis in the SUV when he was captured, but the dog ran off in all the excitement. They’ve heard, though, that the animal shelter may have the dog now.

Ross had been to a family birthday party at here sister Heather Gilliland’s home, and Gilliland was with her Thursday.

“I was just glad we had the party at my house, but my little 8-year-old girl is over here all the time with Lacey’s two daughters,” Gillialand said. “I moved out when they built the prison across the street, and I’m glad I did.”