The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 26, 2013

Man named in ricin mailing case goes into hiding

(Continued)

Investigators spent much of the day Thursday investigating the second home as a plane circled overhead. Earlier in the day, Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said agents told him Dutschke had been under surveillance, but authorities weren't sure where he had gone.

The case has taken a couple of twists and turns since charges were initially filed last week against Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, an Elvis impersonator, but then dropped after authorities said they had discovered new information. Curtis' lawyers say he was framed. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect and the judge and senator.

Hal Neilson, another attorney for Curtis, said the defense gave authorities a list of people who may have had a reason to hurt Curtis, and Dutschke's name came up. He said prosecutors "took it and ran with it."

Dutschke and Curtis were acquainted. Curtis said they had talked about possibly publishing a book on an alleged conspiracy to sell body parts on a black market. But he claimed they later had a feud.

Judge Holland is a common link between two men who have been investigated and both know Wicker.

Holland was the presiding judge in a case in which Curtis was accused of assaulting a Tupelo attorney in 2004. Holland sentenced him to six months in the county jail. He served only part of the sentence, according to his brother.

Holland's family has had political skirmishes with Dutschke in the past.

Her son, Steve Holland, a Democratic state representative, said he believes his mother's only other encounter with Dutschke was at a rally in the town of Verona in 2007, when Dutschke ran as a Republican against Steve Holland.

Holland said his mother confronted Dutschke after he made a derogatory speech about the Holland family. She demanded that he apologize, which Holland says he did.

Steve Holland said he doesn't know if his mother remembers Curtis' assault case.

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