Charges filed in ricin case against different suspect

posted at 12:01 pm on April 29, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

James Everett Dutschke will appear today in federal court to answer charges brought by federal prosecutors that he sent letters containing ricin to a number of officials, including President Barack Obama and Senator Roger Wicker. If this sounds like deja vu, it’s because federal investigators got all the way to court to charge someone else with the crime just s few days ago, only to dismiss the charges almost immediately afterward. This time, NBC reports, the feds think they have the right suspect:

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US News also reports on the bizarre turn of events, including other charges Dutschke faces in separate proceedings:

The Wall Street Journal reports that the two men were involved in a feud over Curtis’s allegations of organ harvesting and Dutschke’s refusal to print them in a local newsletter. Curtis’s brother told the Journal that Dutschke then attempted to scuttle the Elvis impersonator’s musical gigs.

Before his arrest, Dutschke told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that his last interaction with Curtis was in 2010, when the men engaged in a testy email exchange over Curtis’s allegedly fake membership certificate from Mensa, an organization for people with high IQ scores.

Dutschke worked as a martial arts instructor and in January was charged with molesting three girls under the age of 16, according to news reports. He is awaiting trial on those charges.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Mississippi, Dutschke is charged with “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon,” which carries the possible sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Practically speaking, the Department of Justice had better have an airtight case against Dutschke.  The arrest of — and filing of charges against — an entirely different suspect will be fodder for the defense, which will undoubtedly argue that the FBI and DoJ got it right the first time.  Any defense attorney worth his salt will use the cross-examination process to force agents assigned to the case to describe how they came to recommend charges against Curtis based on the evidence they discovered, and will use that call into question their competency, which will undermine any jury’s confidence in the evidence produced later implicating Dutschke.

Over the last two weeks since the Boston Marathon bombing, there has been considerable debate about the media use of the words “alleged” and “suspect” in reporting on cases of crime and terrorism.  This ricin case makes a pretty good argument that using these terms is low-cost and good practice.

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READY?!!!

FIRE!!!!

oh wait…..

AaaaaiiMMM!!!

ted c on April 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Looks like someone jumped to those dadgummed conclusions that we been warned about…../

ted c on April 29, 2013 at 12:05 PM

I wonder if he’s gay.

VegasRick on April 29, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Tsarneavs mama will be encouraged to hear this news……

ted c on April 29, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Looks like someone jumped to those dadgummed conclusions that we been warned about…../

ted c on April 29, 2013 at 12:05 PM

“They were all white guys, so it’s okay”. LSM

VegasRick on April 29, 2013 at 12:07 PM

No wonder the Feds were fooled to the point of charging the wrong guy. They were dealing with an incompetent idiot loser who made a lame effort to frame another goofball. Anyone could be fooled by that, right?

The important thing is to get somebody into the slammer as fast as possible – just like the Muhammad movie guy.

forest on April 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Could this story have an impact on his child abuse charges also? These seem like two very odd men.

Cindy Munford on April 29, 2013 at 12:11 PM

If the ineptitude of the govt wasn’t so scary..this would be funny.

monique on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

But the important question of the day is: DID THEY MIRANDIZE HIM?

GarandFan on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

With charges of child molestation pending against him, I think it was a wise move by him to threaten various politicians including the President with ricin letters. I would rather end up in a federal prison as a guy known for sending ricin to government officials than in a state prison as the guy who molested little girls. Heading off a much worse fate, I think.

kclibby on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

So it isn’t the Elvis impersonator blogger but, rather, a karate instructor/child molester?

God love Mississippi, you just can’t make stuff like this up.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

No wonder the Feds were fooled to the point of charging the wrong guy. They were dealing with an incompetent idiot loser who made a lame effort to frame another goofball.

forest on April 29, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Enough about Eric Holder. What about the suspects?

labrat on April 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Hai Karate!
http://youtu.be/jtwh3nQP5Uo

Sherman1864 on April 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Another suspect? I’m all shook up!

apostic on April 29, 2013 at 12:18 PM

If this dude really was trying to frame the other guy, then the prosecution has unethically charged him with a crime they know he didn’t commit – threatening the life of and/or trying to harm, the president.

His criminal intent must be directed towards the president. Framing someone else, by definition, implies he was not trying to hurt the president.

platypus on April 29, 2013 at 12:19 PM

But the important question of the day is: DID THEY MIRANDIZE HIM?

GarandFan on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

His mother knows he was framed!

VegasRick on April 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Over the last two weeks since the Boston Marathon bombing, there has been considerable debate about the media use of the words “alleged” and “suspect” in reporting on cases of crime and terrorism. This ricin case makes a pretty good argument that using these terms is low-cost and good practice.

And it makes a better argument that the FBI is incompetent, the media will report first and ask questions later (re: the changing Boston Marathon bomb narrative), and that we should have little confidence in our government.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2013 at 12:22 PM

If this dude really was trying to frame the other guy, then the prosecution has unethically charged him with a crime they know he didn’t commit – threatening the life of and/or trying to harm, the president.

His criminal intent must be directed towards the president. Framing someone else, by definition, implies he was not trying to hurt the president.

platypus on April 29, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I see nothing about the president in this set of charges….

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Mississippi, Dutschke is charged with “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon,” which carries the possible sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

If this is what he is charged with, and he actually was trying to used ricin laced letters to frame someone else, then he was doing these things in that frame-up attempt. Doesn’t matter who he was sending the threatening letters to in this case. Just that he sent them.

Lily on April 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Looks like someone jumped to those dadgummed conclusions that we been warned about…../

Dude, the Feds, including Barry’s admin, are always exempt from jumping to conclusions.

We can’t, but they are free to do it any time.

hawkeye54 on April 29, 2013 at 12:29 PM

If the guy is guilty I hope he rots in a cell. Whoever sent the mailers is a terrorist.

Capitalist Hog on April 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

kclibby on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

He’ll probably say it was another set up by Elvis.

Cindy Munford on April 29, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Love that banner on the screen capture: AUTHORITIES BELIEVE THEY NOW HAVE THE CORRECT MAN

And cue Bullwinkle: “This time for sure! Presto!”

apostic on April 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Elvis has Left the building.

ToddPA on April 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

And it makes a better argument that the FBI is incompetent

Well, naturally the FBI has to be more incompetent than ever, it wouldn’t be fair to the self esteem of federal employees to deny them their positions or promotions based on competency. Competency is so overrated.

/s

hawkeye54 on April 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I certainly hope that everyone just calms the heck down and doesn’t commit any backlash crimes against Karate instructors until they get all the facts. We don’t want an outbreak of the kind of attacks suffered by random Elvis impersonators when one of those guys was a suspect.

Lily on April 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Remember the guy the feds accused of the anthrax letters and killed himself? After ruining his life, literally, evidence exists that he may not have been the guy who did it after all. And the Atlanta Olympics bomber who wasn’t actually the bomber. I’m losing faith in the abilities of our justice department and not only because of the jack-wagon in charge of it…

Big John on April 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM

The 0bama regime will just keep going until they find a conservative white male.

jukin3 on April 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Well, naturally the FBI has to be more incompetent than ever, it wouldn’t be fair to the self esteem of federal employees to deny them their positions or promotions based on competency. Competency is so overrated.

/s

hawkeye54 on April 29, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I’m waiting for the FBI to make the claim that they charged the wrong guy because of sequestration. Lack of resources, increased workload, etc. etc. etc.

Happy Nomad on April 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

kclibby on April 29, 2013 at 12:12 PM

How do we know it wasn’t you? /s

And cue Bullwinkle: “This time for sure! Presto!”

apostic on April 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Links, dude, links! ;)

GWB on April 29, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Why I’m against the death penalty, for we’ve see cases where the wrong guy was convicted on supposedly airtight evidence. The Government can at least give back some portion of the wrongfully convicted person’s life if they haven’t murdered him first.

unclesmrgol on April 29, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Is he related to “Red Rudi” Dutschke? Inquiring minds want to know.

Gene Hunt on April 29, 2013 at 2:56 PM