James Everett Dutschke, who was charged with sending poison-laced letters to President Obama and other officials, will appear in court today for a change-of-plea hearing in Oxford, Mississippi.
Dutschke, 42, has been in jail since April, charged with sending ricin-tainted letters to Obama, Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Mississippi judge. While the letters to Obama and Wicker were intercepted, Lee County, Miss., Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland did receive the letter intended for her. But she wasn’t harmed.
The man is now being accused of trying to recruit someone to send letters while he was incarcerated.
The case is a strange one, involving Dutschke and a long-time rival, Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis, whom Dutschke is accused of trying to frame. Dutschke has pleaded not guilty, has denied sending the letters and has also denied the charge that he tried to recruit someone else to send a ricin-tainted letter while he was in jail.
The case first centered around the Elvis impersonator, Curtis, because the letters contained statements that Curtis had often used on his Facebook page, including the line, “I am KC and I approve this message.” In addition, the letters contained the phrase “Missing Pieces,” which is the title of an unpublished book Curtis wrote about a black market for body parts in the United States.
But officials then dropped the charges against Curtis and focused on his rival, Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor in the north Mississippi town of Tupelo, Elvis Presley’s birthplace.
According to the indictment, Dutschke tried to recruit someone to send the letter and wanted it to read: “It doesn’t matter the Fife types have the wrong one. D. had to be sacrificed to show the corruption in the system. I tried to warn you. Ha. K.”
He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, the production of a biological weapon.
Back in April when Dutschke was first arrested and his home was being searched, he told reporters that he had nothing to do with the case.
“I guess Kevin got desperate,” Dutschke told the Jackson Clarion Ledger. “I feel like he’s getting away with the perfect crime.”
“I don’t know anything about this. Where are the allegations coming from? Who made the allegations? The defense attorney for the accused,” Dutschke said.