Charged Dropped Against Mississippi Man in Ricin Case
by Eyder Peralta and Bill Chappell
The United States has dropped charges against a Mississippi man they accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other public servants, according to a court order obtained by the AP.
"In a court order calling for the charges to be dismissed, prosecutors said the 'ongoing investigation has revealed new information' without providing any additional detail," Reuters reports.
Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody earlier today.
"Maybe some good will come out of this tragedy," a jubilant Curtis said during a news conference. He even joked that after all this, he has "contempt for rice" and anything that sounds like "ricin."
"I respect President Obama," Curtis said. "I love my country." He added that he would never do anything to harm elected officials.
Curtis and his lawyers say Curtis was set up by one of his enemies.
As NPR reported Monday, FBI investigators said during testimony that a search of Curtis' home and vehicle turned up no traces of the deadly poison. An initial search of Curtis' computer found no evidence that he had been searching for instructions on how to make ricin.
Separately, today, agents from the FBI and several other police agencies arrived at another Tupelo home Tuesday. In a phone interview with AP that was conducted while agents were at the house, the man who lives there said agents also searched his home last week. He maintained his innocence.
"I'm a patriotic American. I don't have any grudges against anybody. I did not send the letters," he said.
The AP reports that "people in hazmat suits were seen going in and out of [the home] on a quiet block in Tupelo. Investigators from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Capitol Police were seen outside the house."
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The man suspected of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other public servants was released from custody today, according to the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Miss.
Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, tells NPR's Russell Lewis that Paul Kevin Curtis is out on bond. Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case have scheduled a news conference for this evening.
As NPR reported Monday, FBI investigators said during testimony that a search of Curtis' home and vehicle turned up no traces of the deadly poison. An initial search of his computer found no evidence that he had been searching for instructions on how to make ricin.
"Curtis was arrested Wednesday at his house in Corinth, Miss., and charged with sending ricin-laced letters to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and a Lee County, Miss., judge," The Associated Press reports. "Through an attorney, the 45-year-old Curtis has said he is innocent."