Bloomberg News

Case Against Accused Ricin Maker Dutschke Can Go Forward (1)

May 02, 2013

James Everett Dutschke, the Mississippian charged in connection with the mailing of the deadly poison ricin to President Barack Obama, must face prosecution, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford, Mississippi, said prosecutors have probable cause to press their case against Dutschke. He has been in custody since his April 27 arrest.

Dutschke, 41, is charged with producing a biological agent for use as a weapon. Ricin traces were found at his former martial arts studio in Tupelo, Mississippi, and on items the Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered after watching him take them from the studio and discard them, the government said.

“It was ricin,” FBI Special Agent Stephen E. Thomason told the court today. “It’s dangerous, and it’s against the law to possess it.”

The agent wrote an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Dutschke that described the FBI investigation.

Envelopes containing granulated ricin, which is derived from ground castor beans, were sent last month to Obama, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a state court judge, according to the FBO.

The substance is potentially fatal if inhaled or swallowed and has no known antidote, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one was reported harmed by the mailings.

Dutschke might be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. The Tupelo resident earlier today waived his immediate right to a bail hearing.

A defense lawyer, George Lucas, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Lamar declined to talk to reporters about the case after Alexander’s ruling.

The case is U.S. v. Dutschke, 13-mj-00020, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi (Oxford).

To contact the reporter on this story: Marty Russell in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi, at marty.russell56@gmail.com; Andrew Harris in the Chicago federal courthouse at aharris16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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