orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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April 19, 2013

Experts: Ricin like that in letters easy to make

(Continued)

OXFORD, Miss. —

The most notable case of ricin poisoning was in 1978, when a Bulgarian dissident was lethally injected with ricin by an operative of that country's secret service.

Meanwhile, Curtis appeared in federal court Friday afternoon for a hearing in Oxford, Miss. He was ushered into the courtroom in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles. He turned to face his adult daughter in the audience before the hearing and whispered, "I didn't do it."

In court documents, Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy, gave some details of Curtis' arrest. Curtis had gone to get his mail outside his home and was planning to go to his ex-wife's home to cook dinner for her and their children when he was approached by officers in SWAT gear, she wrote. He was then interrogated at an FBI office for several hours, handcuffed and chained to a chair.

Curtis cooperated to the best of his ability, but when he suggested he might need a lawyer, an agent discouraged that, McCoy wrote.

Under questioning by Curtis' attorney, FBI Agent Brandon M. Grant testified Friday that he could not say whether ricin had been found in Curtis' home and stressed that he did not know what may have been found as the hearing approached two hours. He did say that investigators found a package they were interested in, but he did not know what was in it.

Prosecutors had wanted to delay the hearing because searches of Curtis home and car had not been completed and DNA and other tests are pending, the judge allowed it to go on.

Grant testified that there was one fingerprint on the letter sent to the judge, but that it didn't match Curtis. He said several people handled the letter, and DNA and other tests are pending.

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