Paul Kevin Curtis: Mississippi man in ricin letter probe released on bond

Paul Kevin Curtis is seen dressed as an Elvis impersonator in this picture taken in 1999. REUTERS/Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Paul Kevin Curtis is seen dressed as an Elvis impersonator in this picture taken in 1999. Credit: REUTERS/Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

A Mississippi man charged with sending toxic letters to President Barack Obama and a U.S. senator was released from jail on Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was released on bond, Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Mississippi, told Reuters.

His release came as court documents showed that a judge indefinitely postponed a hearing on his detention scheduled for Tuesday, but the charges against Curtis had not been dropped.

The U.S. attorney handling the case, William Chadwick Lamar, declined to comment.

Curtis was arrested last Wednesday at his home in Corinth, Mississippi. He was charged with mailing letters to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a state judge containing a substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a highly lethal poison made from castor beans.

The letters were intercepted by authorities before they reached their destinations.

Over the weekend, investigators searched Curtis’ home, his vehicle and his ex-wife’s home, but failed to find any incriminating evidence, one of his defense lawyers, Christi McCoy, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

The poison scare put Washington on edge during the same week the Boston Marathon bombings occurred.

Curtis, known in Mississippi as an Elvis impersonator, was held in the Lafayette County Detention Center prior to his release. He was charged with threatening to harm Obama and using the mail to make other threats.

In a statement last week, his family said they had not been shown any evidence of the charges against him, but added that Curtis suffers from a long history of mental illness.

Type written on yellow paper, the three letters contained the same eight-line message, according to an affidavit from the FBI and the Secret Service filed in court.

“Maybe I have your attention now / Even if that means someone must die,” the letters read in part, according to the affidavit. The letters ended: “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The initials “KC” led law enforcement officials to ask Wicker’s staff if they were aware of any constituents with those initials and the focus of the investigation then turned to Curtis, the affidavit said.

If convicted, Curtis could face maximum penalties of 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines plus three years of supervised release.

Another of Curtis’ attorneys, Philip Halbert Neilson, said that, although his client was released on bond it was not immediately clear if charges against him would be dropped.

“I think it would be premature for me to say at this time,” Neilson said, when asked whether he anticipated the dropping of charges.

“We’re certainly hoping so and we’re certainly working toward that. We are absolutely certain our client is innocent of all charges.”

Neilson said he and McCoy were planning to hold a news conference later Tuesday.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Wellbeing

What eye symptoms need emergency attention?

Many people experience temporary eye-related problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) from a cold virus or a scratched cornea resulting from an object coming into…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to longterm happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. A new…

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.