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posted: 4/23/2013 8:45 PM

Charges dropped in ricin letters case

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  • Paul Kevin Curtis, right, who had been in custody under the suspicion of sending letters which tested positive for ricin to President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and his brother Jack Curtis walk to a press conference Tuesday in Oxford, Miss.

      Paul Kevin Curtis, right, who had been in custody under the suspicion of sending letters which tested positive for ricin to President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and his brother Jack Curtis walk to a press conference Tuesday in Oxford, Miss.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

TUPELO, Miss. -- Charges of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others were dropped Tuesday against an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi who has said since his arrest last week that he had nothing to do with the case.

Meanwhile, in Tupelo, numerous law enforcement officers converged on the home of another Mississippi man, including some in hazmat suits. No charges have been filed against him and he hasn't been arrested.

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Both men say they have no idea how to make the poisonous ricin and had nothing to do with sending them to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a state judge.

Referring to officials' questions for him about the case, "I thought they said rice and I said I don't even eat rice," 45-year-old Paul Kevin Curtis said after he was released from custody Tuesday afternoon. "I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official."

A one-sentence document filed by federal prosecutors said charges against Curtis were dropped, but left open the possibility they could be re-instated if authorities found more to prove their case.

The dismissal is the latest twist in a case that rattled the country already on edge over the Boston Marathon bombing last week.

Curtis was well-known to Wicker because he had written to the Republican and other officials about black-market body parts he claimed to have found while working at a hospital -- a claim the hospital says is untrue. Curtis also wrote a book called "Missing Pieces" about his claims and posted similar language on his Facebook page and elsewhere. The documents indicate Curtis had been distrustful of the government for years.

He said he realizes his writings made him an easy target.

"God will get the glory from here on out. It's nothing about me. It's nothing about my book. It's nothing about the hospital. After 13 years of losing everything I have turned it over to God. After all these years God was the missing piece," Curtis said.

The two men the FBI are investigating are not strangers.

Since his arrest at his Corinth home on April 17, attorneys for Curtis say their client didn't do it and suggested he was framed. An FBI agent testified in court this week that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of his home.

All the envelopes and stamps were self-adhesive, meaning they won't yield DNA evidence. One fingerprint was found on the letter sent to a Lee County judge, but the FBI doesn't know who it belongs to.

The experience, Curtis said, has been a nightmare for his family. He has four children -- ages, 8, 16, 18 and 20. It also has made him reflect deeply on his life.

"I've become closer to God through all this, closer with my children and I've even had some strained relationships with some family and cousins and this has brought us closer as a family," he said.

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