Criminal charges were dropped Tuesday against a Mississippi man initially accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Obama and two other officials.
The FBI said it had no evidence connecting the man, Paul Kevin Curtis, to the plot. A federal judge released him from jail and federal authorities were focusing on a different individual, according to The New York Times.
Curtis, 45, a sometime Elvis impersonator, said he had been framed by a personal enemy. Curtis held a news conference after his release. “I respect President Obama,” he said. “I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”
He said he had never even heard of ricin, the biological poison made from castor beans. “I thought they said rice,” he said. “I said, ‘I don’t even eat rice.’”
This month, Obama, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and Sadie Holland, a Lee County judge, received letters that had been postmarked from Memphis, filled with a white powder that tests confirmed was ricin.
The letters read: “Maybe I have your attention now even if that means someone must die. This must stop. To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.” They were signed: “I am KC and I approve this message.” Curtis had used that phrase on his Facebook page.
After he was taken into custody last week, Curtis’s brother Jack released a statement on behalf of the family.
Our family is distraught to learn of the claims being made that my brother, Kevin Curtis, sent poison to public officials. We know none of the details about these claims and we have been furnished no evidence as to the allegations being made against Kevin. We are, however, far too familiar with Kevin’s lengthy history of mental illness. For years, our family has struggled to obtain medical assistance for Kevin, who has been diagnosed as bipolar. Our family succeeded, approximately three years ago, in finally persuading Kevin to take medication prescribed for that disorder. Unfortunately, because his mental problems cause Kevin to believe he does not require medical treatment, he refused to continue to take the medication. Sadly, we have been informed there is no legal way for us to force him to follow his doctors’ instructions. When Kevin is taking his medication as prescribed, he is a loving, compassionate person. He is also highly intelligent with enormous potential. Our family is hopeful that the federal government will do something to provide some assistance for Kevin’s mental illness. We also pray that this situation might create something good by bringing to the public’s attention the lack of any way to provide meaningful medical treatment to those persons like Kevin, who so desperately need it.
Family of Kevin Curtis