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Tuesday
Apr232013

Ricin Letter Writing Suspect Released on Bond

Facebook(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Kevin Curtis, suspected of sending ricin tainted letters to President Obama and other public officials, was released on bond Tuesday one day after a court hearing in which investigators said they did not find any evidence of the poison in Curtis' home or car.

The U.S. Marshall's office in Oxford, Miss., confirmed that Curtis had been released from jail, where he had been kept since last week on formal charges of sending threats through the mail.

Curtis, 45, was arrested at his home in Corinth, Miss., a day after a letter laced with the poison was discovered addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. A second letter was intercepted before it reached President Obama and a third letter was mailed to Sadie Holland, a justice of the peace in Lee County, Miss.

Curtis was formally charged last week with sending mail that contained a threat to kill or harm the president and with sending mail containing a threat to injure the president. He pleaded not guilty.

The release came on what was supposed to be the third day of Curtis's bond hearing. Today's proceedings were cancelled this morning after Curtis's lawyers conferred with prosecutors privately.

Niether McCoy nor the U.S. Attorney's office handling the case have responded to requests for comment.

Authorities said there would be a 6 p.m. press conference today to give more details on the case against Curtis.

Curtis's attorney, Christi McCoy, argued for his release Monday during the second day of the bond hearing after prosecutors admitted they found no evidence of ricin, the poison found on the letters, in his home or car.

Investigators testified that they found no trace of the poison or the tools they think could have created it in Curtis's home or car, and no Internet searches for how to make the drug on his computer.

FBI agent Brandon Grant believed that the ricin was made by crudely chopping castor beans in a food processor or blender, neither of which were located in Curtis's home, according to ABC News affiliate WTVA-TV.

Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy, said there was no physical evidence tying her client ot the alleged crime.

"There continues to be more and more evidence, or lack of evidence, that's being fleshed out," McCoy said Monday, according to WTVA.

"The big part that we took from the testimony is that thorough and complete searches were done of Mr. Curtis's residence, his former wife's residence, as well as his vehicle -- the vehicle he was driving at the time of the stop -- and there was nothing found on anything that linked him to these crimes."

Curtis told the court Monday that he would no longer use computers or Facebook and that he would no longer engage in activism, believing his activities online led to his arrest.

According to the criminal complaint lodged against him, the FBI quickly traced the tainted letters to Curtis' house by matching the signature on the letters, which read "This is KC and I approve this message," to a number of other letters and Internet postings Curtis had written.

The letter was mailed from Memphis, Tenn., about 100 miles north of Curtis' home, according to the charging documents.

The U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case, Chad Lamar, said the court hearing would determine whether a bond should be set or whether Curtis should be detained further, WTVA reported.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio