Ricin Case Gets Weirder, Shifts to Ex-Suspect's Foe

Did an online feud escalate into something more sinister?

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2013 3:56 AM CDT | Updated Apr 25, 2013 5:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Elvis impersonator, his online enemy, musical rivalries: The ricin case is getting odder and odder. Following former suspect Paul Kevin Curtis' release from prison, authorities have searched the home and former martial arts studio of Everett Dutschke, in Tupelo, Mississippi, birthplace of Elvis. Plastic-suited, gas-masked investigators left the businesses with buckets loaded down with items covered in plastic bags, the AP reports. Meanwhile, a backstory involving Curtis and Dutschke is emerging.

The men were once colleagues at an insurance office; Curtis says Dutschke considered publishing a book Curtis had written about a black market for body parts. After Dutschke declined, he started stalking Curtis online, the former suspect says. Highlights of their relationship:

  • "Last time we had any contact with each other was at some point in 2010 when I threatened to sue him for fraud for posting a Mensa certificate that is a lie. He is not a Mensa member," says Dutschke. Curtis acknowledges posting the certificate, saying it was a trap related to the stalking.
  • After Dutschke continued harassing him online, Curtis says, they planned to meet—but Dutschke bailed. Says Curtis, "The last email I got from him was, 'Come back tomorrow at 7 and the results of you being splattered all over the pavement will be public for the world to see what a blank, blank, blank you are.'"
  • The two have a lot in common, the New York Times notes: Both are involved in music—one angry exchange related to their musical careers—and martial arts, and both have a history of trouble with the law. "I have told Kevin, ‘You two are so much alike, you should be friends,’" says Curtis' ex-wife.
  • A little more on Dutschke: He once lost a congressional election to state Rep. Steve Holland, son of Sadie Holland, a judge who received one of the ricin-laced letters. Dutschke gave a "militant" speech against his opponent, says Bradley Presley, cousin of Elvis. "I just remember everybody's jaw dropping." Afterward, Dutschke reportedly faced a rebuke from Sadie. He hasn't been arrested in the ricin case.

Everett Dutschke, right, confers with a federal agent near the site of a martial arts studio he once operated, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Federal authorities in hazmat suits stand outside a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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