OXFORD, Miss. —
Investigators haven’t found any ricin in the house of Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.
Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis’ house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin or ingredients for the poison. A search of Curtis’ computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.
The detention and preliminary hearing began Friday in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., but was continued when it ran into the evening.
Federal investigators believe the letters were mailed by Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who family members say suffers from bipolar disorder.
Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Lee County, Miss., judge.
Curtis’ lawyer suggests in court that an enemy may have framed Curtis.
Still, Grant testified that authorities believe that 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.
On Friday, Curtis’ lawyer, Christi McCoy, said the federal government had produced little physical evidence to link her client to the crime.
“He is adamant that he did not do this,” McCoy said Friday. She said her client has never been in possession of ricin and doesn’t know how to make it.
Grant testified Friday that authorities tried to track down the sender of the letters by using a list of Wicker’s constituents with the initials KC, the same initials in the letters. Grant said the list was whittled from thousands to about 100 when investigators isolated the ones who lived in an area that would have a Memphis, Tenn., postmark, as do some places in north Mississippi. He said Wicker’s staff recognized Curtis’ name as someone who had written the senator before.
The letters also contained lines that were on Curtis’ Facebook page, including the phrase, “I am KC and I approve this message,” Grant said.
Grant also testified that there were indentations on the letters from where someone had written on another envelope that had been on top of them in a stack.
The indentations were analyzed under a light source and turned out to be for Curtis’ former addresses in Booneville and Tupelo, though one of the addresses was spelled wrong, Grant said.
McCoy said the evidence linking the 45-year-old to the crime has hinged on his writings posted online, which were accessible to anyone.