A karate instructor appeared in federal court in Mississippi and was ordered held on a charge that he produced the poison ricin and sent it in letters to President Obama and others.
Wearing an orange jumpsuit and with his hands shackled, James Everett Dutschke, 41, appeared in court and said he understood the charges against him, according to media reports from the courtroom in Oxford, Miss.
Federal Magistrate S. Allan Alexander ordered that Dutschke be held without bond pending a preliminary hearing on Thursday.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the northern district of Mississippi, Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., is charged with “knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, transferring, acquiring, retaining and possessing a biological agent, toxin and delivery system, for use as a weapon, to wit: ricin, and with attempting, threatening and conspiring to do the same.”
If convicted, Dutschke faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, the prosecutor’s office said.
The letters, which tested positive for ricin, were sent on April 8 to Obama, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker and Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland, 80.