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Dutschke Sentenced for Sending Ricin-Laced Letters to President and Others

By Sandra Knispel | Published 20 May 2014 09:06am | comments
James Everett Dutschke is sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in federal court in Aberdeen on Monday. AP Photo/Thomas Wells

Oxford, May 19, 2014 -- The man accused of sending ricin letters to the President, Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

After telling federal judge Sharion Aycock last week that he was innocent and wanted to withdraw his guilty plea, James Everett Dutschke changed his mind again and was now ready for sentencing. Unlike last week when he read a prepared statement for 30 minutes to profess his innocence and to point blame at the man he’s accused of trying to frame for the crime instead -- he was taciturn in court in Aberdeen on Monday. Instead, he told the judge that he thought it would be best if he didn’t comment. Chad Lamar is an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi and the lead federal prosecutor in the case. 

“We are glad, you know, that it’s over to a certain extent. It’s not that we were afraid to try the case at all, but this seemed to be – and as the judge said – this was a fair resolution to the case.”

Dutschke had never filed the paperwork to withdraw his guilty plea, despite his very vocal protestations in court last week that he was innocent and his ricin non-toxic. Again lead prosecutor Lamar.

“All I can tell you is that I have lab reports from the FBI lab, we had analysts there. Their report indicated that it tested positive for the presence of ricin and it’s a biological agent and a toxin. [Reporter: For you, does it matter whether the ricin is lethal or not?] No, the statute does not speak to a qualitative analysis. Positive was positive.”

The 25-year sentence now also takes into account an unrelated state case on three counts of fondling a minor, which could have spelled a stint in state prison of up to 45 years. That would have come on top of a protracted federal trial in the ricin case.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.



James Everett Dutschke is sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in federal court in Aberdeen on Monday. AP Photo/Thomas Wells



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