On Tuesday, the federal prosecutors dismissed all charges against Mississippi Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis in the case of ricin-tainted letters that were sent to President Barack Obama and other officials. After he was released from jail, Curtis and his attorneys held a gonzo press conference outside the federal courthouse in Oxford that included allusions to their theory that he was framed by another man, a promise of mass foot massages, and the tale of a dog named “Moo Cow.”Curtis kicked off the press conference by saying he spent the time since his arrest last Wednesday in a “state of overwhelm” while “staring at four grey walls … not really knowing what’s happening, not having a clue why I’m there.” He also described the reaction he had when officials informed him he was being charged with mailing ricin-tainted letters to politicians.
“I thought they said rice, so I said, ‘I don’t even eat rice,'” Curtis told reporters.
Though she said she doesn’t know “specifics,” Curtis attorney Christi McCoy said she believed investigators dismissed the charges against her client because they identified another person they believe was responsible for the attempted poisonings.
“The government was able to basically find another suspect who they believe is the true perpetrator of this heinous crime,” said McCoy.
She went on to note that she believed investigators were still at the home of Everett Dutschke, a man she suggested earlier this week was interested in framing Curtis for the crime because of a longrunning feud between the two men. Local news reports confirmed that the FBI was searching Dutschke’s home Tuesday afternoon.
“Anything bad that has happened to him in the past few years, he has somehow managed to believe that Kevin is responsible for it,” McCoy said of Dutschke.
TPM spoke to Dutschke this afternoon shortly before FBI agents reportedly arrived at his house. He expressed disbelief upon hearing Curtis had been released before hanging up. Subsequent attempts to reach Dutschke have been unsuccessful. Neither the FBI nor the local Lee County Sheriff’s Department have responded to multiple requests to comment on this story.
For his part, after thanking McCoy and his family and friends, Curtis said he loves “my country” and vowed he would “never do harm to him or any other U.S. official.” He also discussed his plans now that he is out of jail. First, Curtis said he wanted to “find my dog Moo Cow,” who “got loose when Homeland Security swarmed in on me.” When someone in attendance at the press conference informed him the dog had already been recovered, Curtis, who described himself as a “licensed reflexologist” said he planned to give a “foot massage” to McCoy and “to all you ladies who need foot massage therapy” as an expression of his happiness.
Curtis also provided further details about his relationship with Dutschke. He described the feud as one-sided, with Dutschke regularly sending him angry messages and telling others negative things about him though he had no bad feelings toward Dutschke. Curtis also suggested Dutschke may have become jealous of him when they studied taekwondo together or because of his successful career as an Elvis impersonator. According to Curtis, Dutschke sent him an email informing him, “I’ve created a band called Robodrum and we’re going to throw you off the national circuit.”
“I just felt he was delusional or trying to get a reaction from me,” Curtis said.
Watch highlights of the press conference below: