Despite repeated denials and claims of innocence, the 41-year-old Tupelo man arrested last Saturday in connection with ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama, Senator Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland will face a compelling body of evidence against him in U.S. District Court on Thursday.
A federal affidavit unsealed by federal prosecutors in Oxford on Tuesday makes a powerful case that the government can tie James Everett Dutschke directly to the crimes of manufacturing the deadly biological agent and mailing it to federal and local officials on April 8.
In detailing the government’s argument before Federal Magistrate S. Allan Alexander that Dutschke be held for arraignment in the highly publicized crimes, the office of U.S. Attorney John Marshall Alexander will present evidence that a search of Dutschke’s martial arts studio found traces elements on items removed from the premises that tested positive for ricin three times.
In addition, the federal affidavit states that on April 22 federal agents observed Dutschke discarding a coffee grinder, latex gloves and a dust mask into a trash receptacle. The government believes that the items were used by Dutschke in the manufacturing of the ricin agent.
Prosecutors also will present evidence showing that Dutschke bought castor bean seeds, used to manufacture ricin, on Ebay in November and December of 2012.
Further bolstering the government’s case is evidence provided by local law enforcement officials that Dutschke downloaded two publications about ricin to his computer in January of 2012, That evidence came to light following the seizure of the computer more than a year ago.
Other evidence, including the discovery of yellow paper in Dutschke’s garage on April 22, similar to that used in the notes mailed to federal officials, is also expected to be presented by the government when they make their argument that Dutschke’s case be sent to a federal grand jury for possible indictment.
If convicted on all counts, he could face life in prison. –– Michael Harrelson, editor, HottyToddy.com