Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FBI has little evidence on suspect in Ricin letter mailings

FBI has little evidence on suspect in Ricin letter mailings, Federal officials have cancelled a hearing on Tuesday morning for a 45-year-old Elvis impersonator from Mississippi accused of mailing Ricin poisoned letters to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and a Lee County, Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland.

The AP reports that Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Miss., said Paul Kevin Curtis has been released from custody. However, Woodfin said he doesn't know if there were any conditions on the release.

Defense attorneys for Paul Kevin Curtis say the evidence linking the man to the crime has hinged on his writings posted on Facebook that were accessible to anyone.

Federal authorities and defense attorneys have scheduled a news conference for 5 p.m. CDT to discuss the case, according to one of Paul Kevin Curtis' defense attorney, Christi McCoy. After the initial court appearance on Thursday, McCoy stated that her client, Paul Kevin Curtis “maintains 100 percent that he did not do this.”

“I know Kevin, I know his family,” McCoy said, according to the Associated Press. “This is a huge shock.”

On Friday, FBI Agent Brandon Grant testified at a preliminary hearing in an Oxford, Miss., federal court:

“There was no apparent Ricin castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something.”

The reason for the cancelled court hearing remains unclear.

Ricin was the suspected weapon of choice in the high-profile assassination of a Bulgarian dissident writer, Georgi Markov in 1978, when a dart believed to contain the deadly poison Ricin was fired from an umbrella in London. The KGB was believed to be behind Markov's assassination, however no one has ever been charged with the crime.

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