Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

April 23, 2013

Hearing to focus on ricin suspect's mental state

(Continued)

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.

Grant said lab analysis shows the poison in the letters was in a crude form that could have been created by grinding castor beans in a food processor or coffee grinder.

The detention and preliminary hearing began Friday in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss. More witnesses besides Grant were expected Tuesday.

Federal investigators believe the letters were mailed by Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who family members say suffers from bipolar disorder.

Grant testified Monday that processing codes printed on the letter indicated they had been mailed from Tupelo, Miss., and that investigators were still trying to figure out from the codes exactly where they had been mailed from.

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, which includes many places in north Mississippi. He said Wicker's staff recognized Curtis as someone who had written the senator before.

All the envelopes and stamps were self-adhesive, Grant said Monday, meaning they won't yield DNA evidence. He said thus far the envelopes and letters haven't yielded any fingerprints.

McCoy said the evidence linking the 45-year-old to the crime has hinged on his writings posted online, which were accessible to anyone.

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