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NATIONAL
April 17, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON -- A Mississippi man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and another official, authorities said.  The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service said Paul Kevin Curtis was taken into custody at 5:15 p.m. for sending three letters "which contained a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin. " Ricin, a poison, is deadly in small amounts if inhaled or ingested. Further tests will be performed on the letters to confirm whether the substance is ricin.  The letters went to the White House, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
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NATIONAL
November 25, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
A Texas actress who played a zombie on the TV show "The Walking Dead" has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors after being accused of trying to frame her husband for sending poison letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Prosecutors filed notice in federal court in east Texas Thursday that Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, had accepted a deal. In addition to a small part in "The Walking Dead," Richardson had minor roles in "The Vampire Diaries" and "The Blind Side," according to her profile in the movie database IMDb.
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SCIENCE
April 17, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
By now you've probably heard, read, or seen that a letter addressed to President Obama has tested positive for ricin powder, a deadly poison that can lead to death within 36 to 72 hours. But what exactly is ricin and why is it so deadly? Ricin is a protein that is found in castor beans. Chewing castor beans--which are grown all over the world--is not a good idea, and the ricin found in them could make you very sick, but it won't necessarily kill you. It is the ricin that has been extracted from the beans during the making of castor oil that is especially deadly.
NATIONAL
November 21, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
A taekwondo instructor in Tupelo, Miss., has been indicted -- for the second time -- on suspicion of trying to frame an Elvis impersonator in a case involving a poison-filled letter to a U.S. official. This time James Everett Dutschke, 42, is accused of trying to carry out a plot from jail, according to a superseding indictment filed Wednesday in federal court in Mississippi. The story of Dutschke's feud with the Elvis impersonator, Paul Kevin Curtis, became national headline fodder in April after Curtis was arrested on suspicion of mailing cryptic letters laced with ricin to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge.
NATIONAL
April 23, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
The man accused of trying to poison the president, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge with ricin has been released from jail, the U.S. Marshal's Service said Tuesday. The circumstances behind the release of Paul Kevin Curtis, a 45-year-old part-time singer and Elvis impersonator from Mississippi, were not clear. Prosecutors and his defense attorney had scheduled a Tuesday afternoon news conference to talk about the case but did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
NATIONAL
November 21, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
A taekwondo instructor in Tupelo, Miss., has been indicted -- for the second time -- on suspicion of trying to frame an Elvis impersonator in a case involving a poison-filled letter to a U.S. official. This time James Everett Dutschke, 42, is accused of trying to carry out a plot from jail, according to a superseding indictment filed Wednesday in federal court in Mississippi. The story of Dutschke's feud with the Elvis impersonator, Paul Kevin Curtis, became national headline fodder in April after Curtis was arrested on suspicion of mailing cryptic letters laced with ricin to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge.
NEWS
April 18, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON -- A U.S. senator who was the intended recipient of a letter apparently laced with ricin said he had hired the suspected sender, an Elvis impersonator, to play at a wedding a decade ago. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a quiet two-term senator who was trailed by security in the Capitol on Thursday, said he had hired Paul Kevin Curtis and "he was quite entertaining. " "I have indeed met the gentleman in question," Wicker told reporters. "He's an entertainer. He's an Elvis impersonator.
NATIONAL
April 30, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
A Mississippi martial arts teacher tried to throw away ricin-tainted materials and had a manual about the poison on his computer, according to a federal affidavit unsealed Tuesday. James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., was charged Saturday with having and/or making ricin and sending poison-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge. Ricin is deadly in small doses, and there is no antidote. It can be inhaled, injected or ingested.  The charges came after one of Dutschke's nemeses, a local Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis, had been arrested days earlier.
NEWS
April 17, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - Investigators say there are no signs of a link between the Boston Marathon bombings and potentially poisonous letters sent to the President Obama and a U.S. senator. An FBI statement issued Wednesday said the investigation into the letters continues and more may be received. One letter was addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the other to the president. Both were detected Tuesday at off-site mail-screening centers and did not reach the White House or the Capitol.  The letter addressed to Obama contained a “granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin,” a toxin that can be deadly even in small amounts, the FBI statement said.
NATIONAL
April 23, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
Officials have dropped charges against the Elvis impersonator accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge, according to a court filing Tuesday. Poisoning suspect Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Miss., was suddenly released on bond Tuesday in the middle of a series of preliminary evidentiary hearings that was put on hold. By afternoon, federal prosecutors had filed to drop the charges against him without prejudice. The filing stated "the ongoing investigation has revealed new information.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2013 | By Yvonne Villarreal
Oh my gosh, what did Sarah Wayne Callies do? Wait, no. Maybe it was Laurie Holden?? -- That might have been the initial thought process when you looked at your Twitter feed or scrolled through the email alerts on your phone blasting that a "Walking Dead" actress was arrested in connection with the Obama/Bloomberg ricin threat. Rest easy. The aforementioned ladies are in the clear. At the center of the arrest is bit actress Shannon Richardson (who also went by Shannon Rogers and Shannon Guess)
NATIONAL
June 1, 2013 | By David Willman, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Over the last two months, authorities have seized a succession of letters laced with the toxin ricin intended for the CIA, President Obama and other public officials. Viewed as copycat events by some investigators, the letters have generated high-profile coverage on television and were widely reported by other media organizations, including the nation's major newspapers. But experts say the ricin that has been sent through the mail has posed little health risk for two reasons.
NATIONAL
May 31, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
As federal officials plunged into yet another investigation over ricin-laced letters sent to public officials , court documents reveal peculiarities about another recent poison-by-mail case. James Everett Dutschke, 41, a taekwondo instructor, remains jailed in Lafayette County, Miss., while facing federal charges of manufacturing the poison ricin. He has previously stated his innocence and is reportedly awaiting the findings of grand jury; his attorney could not be reached for comment.
NEWS
May 30, 2013 | By David Lauter and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - A letter apparently containing ricin, similar to those previously addressed to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was intercepted at a White House mail screening facility, the Secret Service confirmed Thursday. The letter has been turned over to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. On Wednesday, police revealed that letters threatening Bloomberg because of his stand in favor of gun control had tested positive for ricin.
NATIONAL
May 29, 2013 | By Matt Pearce and Tina Susman
Letters threatening New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg over gun control laws have tested positive for the poison ricin, police said Wednesday. An unspecified number of New York Police Department personnel reported minor symptoms from the poison that have since abated, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in a statement. The anonymous letters were opened at the city's mail facility on Gold Street in Manhattan on Friday and by the director of Bloomberg's gun control consortium, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in Washington on Sunday, police said.
NATIONAL
April 30, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
A Mississippi martial arts teacher tried to throw away ricin-tainted materials and had a manual about the poison on his computer, according to a federal affidavit unsealed Tuesday. James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., was charged Saturday with having and/or making ricin and sending poison-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge. Ricin is deadly in small doses, and there is no antidote. It can be inhaled, injected or ingested.  The charges came after one of Dutschke's nemeses, a local Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis, had been arrested days earlier.
NATIONAL
April 23, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
Paul Kevin Curtis said he didn't even know what ricin was. Certainly not a lethal poison. But jail can be a swift teacher. "I thought they said 'rice,' " Curtis said of the federal authorities who arrested him last week on charges of trying to poison the president, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. "And I said, 'I don't even eat rice.' " In a dramatic shift in a high-profile case, federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped the poison-by-mail charges against Curtis without prejudice after new leads developed, according to a court filing.
NATIONAL
March 15, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A man who may have been exposed to toxic ricin a month ago in his Las Vegas motel room has regained consciousness. Authorities say Roger Bergendorff, 57, remains in critical condition but is speaking with investigators. Bergendorff was hospitalized Feb. 14. Several vials of ricin powder were later found in his motel room.
NATIONAL
April 29, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
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.
NATIONAL
April 28, 2013 | By Matthew Teague
TUPELO, Miss. - Federal agents of all sorts invaded northeast Mississippi several days ago, on a mission: Find the man who sent a poison-laced letter to the president. But the United States government quickly found itself entangled, once again, in a misunderstood land dominated by squabbling tribes and petty vengeances. Agents first arrested an Elvis impersonator, released him, then on Saturday arrested his nemesis, a karate instructor. Gradually investigators concluded that what they had descended upon was probably less about the president - or the U.S. senator and retired state judge who also received letters - than a serious case of indigenous bickering.
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