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
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

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.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

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.

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)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…