OXFORD, Miss. — Investigators haven’t found any ricin in the house of a Mississippi man accused of mailing poisoned letters to President Obama, a US senator, and a local judge, according to testimony Monday from an FBI agent.
Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis’s vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin or ingredients for the poison. A search of Curtis’s computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.
‘‘There was no apparent ricin, castor beans, or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,’’ Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor. Grant said computer technicians are now doing a ‘‘deep dive’’ on the suspect’s computers after initially finding no ‘‘dirty words’’ indicating Curtis had searched for information on ricin.
Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, and a Lee County, Miss., judge. The letters, bearing a Memphis postmark, were detected beginning April 15. Curtis’s lawyer said in court that someone may have framed Curtis, suggesting that a former co-worker with whom Curtis had an extended exchange of angry e-mails may have set him up.
Still, Grant testified that authorities believe that they have the right suspect.
Federal investigators believe the letters were mailed by Curtis, an Elvis impersonator who family members say suffers from bipolar disorder.
Christi McCoy, his lawyer, said she would seek to have a federal judge release Curtis for lack of probable cause.