Mississippi man in Ricin probe released

The Mississippi man charged with sending toxic letters to President Barack Obama and a U.S. senator has been released from jail, the U.S. Marshals Service said on Tuesday.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was released on bond, Jeff Woodfin, chief deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Oxford, Mississippi, told Reuters.

His release came as court documents showed a hearing on his detention has been indefinitely postponed but the charges against him had not been dropped.

Curtis was arrested last Wednesday and charged with mailing letters to Obama and to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi containing a substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a highly lethal poison made from castor beans.

The letters were intercepted by authorities before they reached their destinations.

Over the weekend, investigators searched Curtis’ home, his vehicle and his ex-wife’s home but failed to discover any incriminating evidence, one of his defense lawyers, Christi McCoy, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

The poison scare put Washington on edge the same week that the Boston Marathon bombings occurred.

Curtis, known in Mississippi as an Elvis impersonator, was held in the Lafayette County Detention Center prior to his release.

Curtis’ attorney Philip Halbert Neilson said that although his client had been released on bond it was not immediately clear if charges against him would be dropped.

“I think it would be premature for me to say at this time,” Neilson said, when asked whether he anticipated the dropping of charges.

“We’re certainly hoping so and we’re certainly working toward that,” he added. “We are absolutely certain our client is innocent of all charges.”

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