Mississippi Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Ricin Letters
Posted at 11:49 a.m. on May 20
A judge sentenced the Mississippi man who admitted to mailing poison-laced letters to elected officials such as President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to 25 years in prison on Monday.
Wicker was a target of the ricin letters sent in April 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
James Everett Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, Miss., was found guilty of developing and possessing the biological agent ricin and sending ricin-laced, threatening letters that rocked the Capitol Hill community in April 2013.
The quarter-century sentence comes about a week after Dutschke tried to withdraw his guilty plea and blame the Elvis impersonator who was initially arrested for the ricin scare. He changed his mind again and accepted the sentence, according to local media reports.
Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor and one-time political candidate, was arrested on April 27, 2013, and indicted by a federal grand jury on June 3, 2013. He was charged in November with trying to get someone to send more letters containing the deadly substance on his behalf. Dutschke pleaded guilty on Jan. 17, 2014, to one count of developing and possessing ricin, and three subsequent counts of mailing threatening letters laced with the substance.
His 25-year sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock was part of a plea agreement between Dutschke and the U.S. attorney’s office that also waived his right to appeal. Dutschke was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Secret Service agents, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Capitol Police, plus local and state law enforcement in Mississippi.