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Suspect in poison letters case remains jailed

OXFORD, Miss. -- A Mississippi man charged with making a deadly poison sent to President Barack Obama and others was ordered held without bond Monday until a hearing later this week when prosecutors are expected to describe what evidence they have against him.

James Everett Dutschke made a brief appearance in federal court, his hands shackled. Authorities spent several days last week searching Dutschke's home and former business but have said very little about the suspect beyond a news release over the weekend announcing the charge of making and possessing ricin.

Dutschke's arrest early Saturday capped a week in which investigators initially zeroed in on a rival of Dutschke's, then decided they had the wrong man. Dutschke, 41, has denied involvement in the mailing of the letters, saying he's a patriot with no grudges against anyone.

He said little during his hearing other than answering affirmatively to the judge's questions about whether he understood the charges against him.

The judge ordered Dutschke, of Tupelo, to remain jailed until a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for Thursday. More details are likely to emerge at that hearing, when prosecutors have to show they have enough evidence to hold him.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

The letters, which tests showed were tainted with ricin, were sent April 8 to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Mississippi judge Sadie Holland.

The first suspect accused by the FBI was Paul Kevin Curtis, 45. He was arrested on April 17 at his Corinth, Miss., home, but the charges were dropped six days later. Curtis' lawyer says his house is uninhabitable after the government searched it but failed to find evidence that he made or possessed ricin.

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