OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI)- James Dutschke will soon face jail time. The 42 year old accused of developing and mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland pleaded guilty to all four counts in Oxford’s federal court Friday afternoon. Dutschke is now facing at least 25 years behind bars.
“It was a compromise plea. It resolved the federal case and the state case. It was also a compromise in that depending on experts belief that the substance was toxic or not, there’s a difference in a life sentence and a sentence that would have been less than 25 years so it was right in the middle. I think it was a fair and good result,” said Ken Coghlan, Dutschke’s Defense Attorney.
At times it appeared Dutschke did not think it was. He hesitated and chocked up several times as the judge asked if he understood the plea agreement.
“He’s very particular about making sure all the facts were correct so I wasn’t worried,” said Coghlan.
FBI Agents, prosecutors and investigators attended the hearing. Kevin Curtis, the man previously accused, however, did not. His family’s attorney Christi McCoy tells WCBI the family is relieved, but still believes federal and state leaders owe him an apology.
“When you have the entire United States government get up and say Kevin Curtis did this and you have FBI agents say on the stand 3 times he was 100% sure it was Kevin, that’s tough,” said McCoy.
McCoy stated they may file a civil lawsuit against Dutschke and others involved in the case.
“I mean really listening to the factual basis it made me sad and angry that on April 19th, almost everything they used to arrest Mr. Dutchske they had knowledge of. But, on the 23rd they were still fighting to keep Kevin Curtis in jail.That’s troubling to me,” said McCoy.
Part of Dutschke’s agreement states no additional charged will be tried, including one involving a failed attempt to send a letter while in custody. A date for Dutschke’s sentencing has not been set.