Hearing resumes today for Miss. ricin suspect

April 23, 2013 9:54:26 AM

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OXFORD -- More discussion is likely today of the mental state of the Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge. 

 

Christi McCoy, defense attorney for Paul Kevin Curtis, said Monday she expects testimony from David Daniels, a Tupelo attorney who says Curtis threatened him after a rehearsal for an Elvis impersonators' show Daniels helped organize in 2002. Also, a law enforcement official was expected to testify about Curtis' suicide attempt in Chicago in 1991. 

 

On Monday, FBI Agent Brandon Grant testified that Friday searches of Curtis' vehicle and house in Corinth found no ricin, ingredients for the poison, or devices used to make it. A search of Curtis' computers found no evidence he researched making ricin. 

 

"There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something," Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor. Grant said technicians are now doing a "deep dive" on the suspect's computers after initially finding no "dirty words" indicating Curtis had searched for information on ricin. 

 

Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Lee County, Miss., judge. The first of the letters was found April 15. 

 

"The searches are concluded, not one single shred of evidence was found to indicate Kevin could have done this," McCoy told reporters after the hearing. 

 

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Allan Alexander ended the hearing after lunch Monday, citing a personal schedule conflict. After the hearing concluded, McCoy questioned why Curtis would have signed the letters "I am KC and I approve this message," a phrase he had used on his Facebook page. 

 

McCoy said in court that someone may have framed Curtis, suggesting that a former business associate of Curtis' brother, a man with whom Curtis had an extended exchange of angry emails, may have set him up. 

 

Still, Grant testified that authorities believe they have the right suspect. 

 

"Given the right mindset and the Internet and the acquisition of material, other people could be involved. However, given information right now, we believe we have the right individual," he said.