The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 30, 2013

Lawyer: Former ricin suspect's home is unlivable

(Continued)

Though attorneys for Curtis say their client was framed, McCoy believes whoever sent the letters had a primary goal of targeting the public officials. Curtis has said that he feuded with the man now charged in the case, 41-year-old James Everett Dutschke.

"I think Kevin was just an afterthought or a scapegoat," McCoy said.

Some of the language in the letters was similar to posts on Curtis' Facebook page and they were signed, "I am KC and I approve this message." Curtis often used a similar online signoff.

Had damaging Curtis been the point of the scheme, McCoy said she believes that whoever set up her client could have done a better job of implicating him, such as planting evidence at his home.

McCoy said in an interview Monday that she still believes the FBI acted on the best information available at the time, but it's time to make her client whole. The letter said Curtis' life was "ruined."

Curtis was arrested April 17. The charges were dropped six days later and Curtis was released from jail.

A message left seeking comment about McCoy's letter at the federal prosecutor's office in Oxford, Miss., wasn't immediately returned.

After Curtis was released, the focus turned to Dutschke. In court Monday, a judge ordered that Dutschke be held without bond until a preliminary and detention hearing Thursday. More details are likely to emerge at that hearing, when prosecutors have to show they have enough evidence to hold him.

Dutschke made a brief appearance wearing an orange jumpsuit with his hands shackled. He said little during his hearing other than answering affirmatively to the judge's questions about whether he understood the charges against him.

Dutschke (pronounced DUHS'-kee) has denied involvement in the mailing of the letters, saying he's a patriot with no grudges against anyone. He has previously run for political office and was known to frequent political rallies in northern Mississippi.

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