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Ricin Suspect Dutschke Makes A Quick Visit To Federal Court

The man accused of sending letters containing the poison ricin to President Obama and other officials made a brief appearance in an Oxford, Miss., federal court Monday morning. J. Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested Saturday, several days after another Mississippi man, former suspect Paul Kevin Curtis, was released.

Dutschke is charged with possessing a biological weapon, identified as ricin, and attempting to use it as a weapon. If convicted, he could face a sentence of life in prison.

Few details about the case against Dutschke were released Monday morning. The Tupelo, Miss., Daily Journal reports that more documents may be unsealed this afternoon. Dutschke is next scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning.

As we reported over the weekend, Curtis, who was arrested April 17 and released April 23, has accused Dutschke of attempting to frame him.

Dutschke has maintained that he did not send ricin-laced letters to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Judge Sadie Holland of Mississippi's Lee County. Law enforcement officials from the FBI, the Capitol Police and other agencies have searched Dutschke's house, vehicle and place of business several times in the past two weeks.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.