Patterico's Pontifications


New Suspect Charged with Sending Ricin-Laced Letters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:27 pm

The new guy they have arrested has a history of antagonism with the Elvis impersonator they previously arrested. The linked article details his arrest, but he has since been charged as well.

To me, the most interesting part of the story lies not in the details of the new suspect, but in the skimpy evidence that supported the charges against the first guy:

The letters spoke of “Missing Pieces” and were signed “I am KC and I approve this message,” both standard parts of e-mail messages sent to numerous public officials by Mr. Curtis, who had been on a one-man campaign for more than a decade to expose what he alleged was an illicit organ-harvesting scheme at a Tupelo hospital.

Mr. Curtis was arrested on April 17. While he was in custody, federal agents searched his home — tearing up the bed and the ceiling, according to Mr. Curtis’s stepfather — as well as the home of a former wife, but they found no evidence tying him to the letters.

Law enforcement officials said on Saturday that the letters were carefully written to mimic Mr. Curtis’s characteristic phrasing and concerns. While they regretted having arrested a man they now consider innocent, they wanted to move quickly to prevent more poisoned letters from being sent, one official said.

That’s all it took to arrest the guy? Letters written to mimic his phrasing and concerns?

31 Responses to “New Suspect Charged with Sending Ricin-Laced Letters”

  1. CNN has a lot more, too. Supposedly on the day he was arrested Elvis told officials he did not do it, that he was framed, and told them exactly who to look for. Turns out he was right on all accounts and it was easy to prove he was right. But that did not stop law enforcement from widely and immediately publicizing Curtis’ arrest, accepting interviews on national TV, and ruining the guy’s life and property. This case and how it was handled should trouble every single person in America.

    elissa (2f00cf)

  2. Shades of Stephen Hatfill, although this time Kristof was not ‘banging the drums.’ for his arrest.

    narciso (3fec35)

  3. Like Lee Harvey Oswald all over again.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  4. I thought the letters had his return address.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  5. Nope. But there’s a quick draft transcript of Curtis’ preliminary hearing discussing evidence, (and some lack of it) here (at the end of the article).–Dutschke-denies-any-involvement-with-ricin-letter-plot?instance=popular

    SarahW (b0e533)

  6. It’s the seriousness of the charge that matters most.

    Not the truth.

    Amphipolis (3a0e71)

  7. Given how thoroughly the FBI screwed-the-pooch on this one, shouldn’t it be easy to reach the reasonable doubt standard?

    “Special Agent Jones, was my client the first individual you investigated in this case?”

    “Special Agent Jones, didn’t you initially determine that another man had committed these offenses?”

    “Special Agent Jones, were there charges filed against another individual in this case based upon an entirely different theory of the crime?”

    Rhymes With Right (c6e21c)

  8. Comment by Rhymes With Right (c6e21c) — 4/27/2013 @ 2:44 pm

    Yeah, that won’t work out so well when the agent’s response is: Yes, yes, yes. All that happened because your client with malice tried to frame Elvis for the crime.

    aunursa (7014a8)

  9. He’s as sweet as Tupelo ricin

    Colonel Haiku (cf3199)

  10. He was caught in a trap
    Couldn’t walk out
    Cause they had him in cuffs, baby

    Why couldn’t they see
    What they were doing to him
    When they didn’t believe a word
    He was saying

    FBI couldn’t go on
    With suspicious minds
    And they couldn’t build a case
    On suspicious lies

    So they found an old foe
    Who taught Tae Kwon Do
    And they pinned it on him

    nk (875f57)

  11. Way to ruin one of the sexiest songs ever written, Colonel

    elissa (2f00cf)

  12. I feel a bad moon ricin, Elissa.

    Colonel Haiku (62ced6)

  13. Mistah mojo ricin…

    Colonel Haiku (62ced6)

  14. Way to ruin one of the sexiest songs ever written, Colonel

    Comment by elissa (2f00cf) — 4/27/2013 @ 5:51 pm

    On ditto, ditto, ditto!

    Dana (292dcf)

  15. Colonel – Were you dissin’ Barry White again?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. If this all bears out, then the appropriate response should be to come down even harder on the real guy and find a way to make him pay a price for the attempt to frame another.

    I won’t blame the FBI for getting duped, but I will blame them if they don’t have an appropriate sense of righteous anger at the person who attempted to frame him.

    Aaron "Worthing" Walker (23789b)

  17. That guy threw the Blind Boys of Alabama out of his dressing room, Elissa. I know he’s Irish and all but what sort of wanker does that?

    Colonel Haiku (a1b619)

  18. Well this is the third time, Hatfill, Ivins, Curtis, that they misidentify a viral or biological attack, this is not reassuring,

    narciso (3fec35)

  19. burn the witch i say

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  20. what kind of moron carries lighter fluid in their boot is what I wanna know

    oh shut up like you’re some kind of effing fulbright scholar

    no you shut up

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  21. So anyone writing a poison letter beginning with “Let me be perfectly clear” or “As I’ve always said” could get the President locked up? Who knew?

    dfbaskwill (c021f2)

  22. Too bad the Boston Bomb Bro’s did not write letters.

    Patricia (be0117)

  23. That’s a very weak defense from you for having dissed Van’s musics, Colonel. Please say you’re sorry so that Dana and I and others can get past this.

    elissa (d757f2)

  24. Faux Elvis was one of them bitter clingers, white, talks with a drawl, eats ham an’ grits, squirrels, crawdads, gators, catfish, maybe even snappin’ turtles, and god only knows what else, probably got at least one shotgun and two or three other fully automatic assault weapons, likely a churched up thumper, possibly a card carrying member of the NRA, maybe even a wannabe klucker.

    Come on y’all! It’s easy to see why Eric Holder was so quick on the trigger to get the Feds hot on Curtis’ trail. Faux Elvis practically got hisself arrested n all ’cause he fits Eric Holder’s profile of exactly the kinda guy’d wanna poison Barack Obama.

    ropelight (d5a027)

  25. Some serious mis-reporting here which I think is adding to confusion of posters.

    This is not a Preliminary Hearing, and a Fed. Mag. Judge does not decide whether a case can proceed to the Grand Jury.

    A Prelim Hearing would not happen until 15 days after an arrest on a criminal complaint. In that 15 day period, the Gov’t could take the case to the Grand Jury to seek an indictment, or put on its Probable Cause case before the Mag. on the 15th day. It would not put on its Probable Cause case before the Mag. a day or two after the arrest.

    This is a bail hearing. The government had asked that the defendant be denied bail at the time of his arrest. One of five factors under the Bail Reform Act is the “strength of the evidence against the defendant.” Normally, Pretrial Services would prepare a report, but they do not do such an analysis. If the defendant wants to argue a lack of evidence against him, he can ask for a hearing, and call the gov’t investigators to ask them questions about what they’ve found.

    At this point its likely too early for any computer forensics of lab analysis to have been complete on anything taken from his apartment. So its not surprising that the investigators, who were still in the middle of trying to figure out what they had, would be hard-pressed to make a compelling case of the guy’s guilt.

    That does not mean there wasn’t probable cause to arrest and hold him.

    In reactive cases in federal court, that is what the 15 day period between initial appearance and Prelim. Hearing is for. What happened here is that during the 15 day period the investigators were able to determine that the initial defendant was likely framed, and then focused on the other suspect.

    shipwreckedcrew (ff598b)

  26. I’m getting back on teh road from SoCal, so I apologize… I wouldn’t want to have a fatal accident without making amends for dissing that sawed-off Irish runt’s music…

    Colonel Haiku (d3c827)

  27. Colonel- My better half’s favorite show was him on St. Paddy’s day in Milano. I think his songs all sound the same. I said that once to her, back in the 80’s.

    mg (31009b)

  28. I like Morrison’s work, mg. especially early 70’s stuff…

    Nothin’ from nothin’, but it looks like Mel Brooks had some work done…

    Colonel Haiku (4f3f6e)

  29. Thats brutal, Colonel.

    mg (31009b)

  30. They have by now found ricin or ricin traces in the martial arts place.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

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