U.S. charges Mississippi man with ricin threat on Obama

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 18, 2013 12:53 PM

By David Ingram

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors on Thursday filed criminal charges against Paul Kevin Curtis, the Mississippi man arrested a day earlier in the FBI's investigation of letters believed to have contained the deadly poison ricin.

A criminal complaint filed in District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi charges Curtis with threatening to harm President Barack Obama and making other threats through the Postal Service.

Curtis, 45, of Corinth, Mississippi, was expected to appear in court today in nearby Oxford.

Three letters believed to contain ricin were addressed to a U.S. senator, the White House and a Mississippi official, the FBI said in a statement on Wednesday.

The poison scare put Washington on edge the same week that bombings at the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured 176 on Monday, but the FBI said there was no indication the incidents were connected.

An affidavit from the FBI and the Secret Service filed in court on Thursday said that all three letters contained the same eight-line message.

"Maybe I have your attention now / Even if that means someone must die," the letters said in part, according to the affidavit. The letters ended, "I am KC and I approve this message."

The initials "KC" led law enforcement to ask the staff of the U.S. senator, Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi, about any constituents with those initials, and the investigation then focused on Curtis, the affidavit said.

The letters were undergoing more extensive testing. Two of them were intercepted at mail facilities before they could reach federal officials. The third was delivered to a Mississippi state judge, the affidavit said.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)