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Mississippi karate instructor arrested in poisoned letters case

April 27, 2013|By Matthew Teague and Shashank Bengali
  • J. Everett Dutschke stands in the street outside his home in Tupelo, Miss., on Tuesday waiting for the FBI to arrive and search his home in connection with the sending of poisoned letters to President Obama and others. Dutschke was arrested on Saturday, the FBI said.
J. Everett Dutschke stands in the street outside his home in Tupelo, Miss.,… (Thomas Wells / Associated…)

TUPELO, Miss.  — A Mississippi karate instructor whose home and business were searched as part of an investigation into poisoned letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge has been arrested in the case.

The arrest of J. Everett Dutschke followed several days of raids and inspections at his home and the karate studio he used. Dutschke, 41, was arrested without incident about 12:50 a.m. Saturday at his Tupelo home by special agents of the FBI, FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden told The Times. Dutschke's attorney, Lori Basham, made a brief statement: "It is my understanding that the authorities have confirmed Mr. Dutschke's arrest," she said by text message. "We have no comment at this time."

The letters, which allegedly contained ricin, were sent last week to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge, Sadie Holland.

Dutschke, a former candidate for the Mississippi statehouse, became the prime suspect in the case after charges were dropped Tuesday against Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who claimed that he had been framed. Hazardous-materials teams and federal investigators searched Dutschke’s house Tuesday. Madden referred questions to the U.S. attorney’s office in Oxford, Miss., which didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

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