James Everett Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor and politician, pled guilty Friday to sending poison-laced letters to President Obama and other officials in a failed attempt to frame Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator.  Under the plea agreement, Dutschke is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock set the sentencing tentatively for 60 days from now.  Dutschke was charged with possession and use of a biological agent as a weapon last year.

Dutschke, 42, recently took the stand at a plea hearing where he answered the judge’s questions.  He told the judge he did not agree with some of the allegations against him when the prosecution read a list of factual elements.  Dutschke was then asked if he was voluntarily entering a guilty plea, he answered:

“I am voluntarily entering this plea and I understand fully in doing so that I am accepting responsibility for everything that he mentioned,” Dutschke said.

He said the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted by a jury was a factor in his decision to change his plea.  Dutschke’s lawyer, Ken Coghlan told reporters after the hearing that he thought the agreement was fair.  Prosecutors say Dutschke attempted to frame Paul Curtis who was initially charged and imprisoned.  His charges were later dropped after investigators reviewed claims made by Curtis’ lawyer, Christi McCoy who said that Curtis was framed by someone.

Dutschke pled guilty to sending letters to Pres. Obama, Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Mississippi judge.  The judge, Sadie Holland, was the only one who actually received her letter, the others were intercepted.  She was not harmed.  Dutschke had run for Mississippi state legislature unsuccessfully against the son of Judge Holland.

The 25-year sentence, if approved, would run concurrently with any sentence he would receive in state court, if he is convicted in an unrelated fondling case.

Authorities incorrectly arrested Curtis for sending the letters, which contained writings similar to those Curtis used on his Facebook page, including “I am K.C. and I approve this message.”  In addition, the phrase “Missing Pieces”, the title of Curtis’ unpublished book about a U.S. black-market for body parts, was also in the package.  Curtis told investigators that the two men have been in a feud for years.

The Justice Department said in a press release that Dutschke concocted and carried out the elaborate frame job, including making ricin after purchasing castor beans from eBay.  According to the indictment, Dutschke was also alleged to have recruited someone to send another ricin-tainted letter including the message:  “It doesn’t matter the Fife types have the wrong one. D. had to be sacrificed to show the corruption in the system. I tried to warn you. Ha. K.”


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