By Patsy R. Brumfield
TUPELO – When an Elvis impersonator gets accused of mailing poison-laden letters to President Obama and two other elected officials, regional and national media come running.
This past April, that’s exactly what happened in Northeast Mississippi.
Reporters packed the Oxford federal courtroom to hear federal prosecutors explain why Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth should be held for trial.
They insisted he’d mailed threatening letters containing ricin, driven by his frustrations over not being taken seriously about his personal investigation into an alleged body parts trafficking conspiracy he claimed operated out of Tupelo’s North Mississippi Medical Center.
In the end, the government couldn’t prove any connection between Curtis and the poison ricin, which was discovered in letters mailed from Tupelo to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
When they had to turn Curtis loose, he told them they should look at his arch rival, Tupelo martial arts instructor J. Everett Dutschke.
Today, 42-year-old Dutschke passes time in a Lafayette County jail cell, awaiting a May trial on multiple counts in the letter scheme, as well as allegedly trying to frame Curtis.
He says he is not guilty.
The stranger-than-fiction tale prompted scores of news stories and TV newscasts. One especially lengthy feature in “GQ” magazine even got state Rep. Steve Holland in hot water with an interview laced with expressive profanities and other colorful language.
Democrat Holland is the son of the justice court judge and successfully ran for re-election opposed by Republican Dutschke in 2007.
While various layers of this hard-to-believe story may not rank high in historical significance during 2013, it was by far the most talked-about.
As 2014 approaches, Curtis continues to pursue legal action against Dutschke and wants monetary damages from the government for ruining his reputation and his personal property during investigative searches.