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Video: Dutschke Pleads Guilty to Fondling

LEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCB) – The man who pleaded guilty last week to sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other elected officials enters guilty pleas this morning in Lee County Circuit Court on charges of fondling a minor.

James Everett Dutschke, 42, was indicted last April on three charges of touching girls under the age of 16. The District Attorney recommended the former martial arts instructor be sentenced to 45 years , or 15 years for each charge. The D.A. also recommended 20 of those years be served in prison and 25 suspended.

The incidents occurred between January 2007 and January 2013 at a martial arts studio on Industrial Road.

During this morning’s hearing, Dutschke conferred a lot with his attorney and also told Judge Paul Funderburk that he had not been pressured or promised anything to plead guilty.

“Got the victims the justice they wanted and kept the little girls off the stand from having to testify and having to relive the acts that Mr Dutschke performed on them,” explained Assistant District Attorney Sadie Gardner, who handled the case.

“He actually decided last week, he signed a plea agreement in federal court.  Part of that plea agreement also wrapped up the state charges. It was just a matter of logistics and he pleaded guiltyFriday in federal court and getting him here today since the courts were closed yesterday,” said Lori Basham, Dutschke’s attorney.

After his release from prison, Dutschke will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Last week, Dutschke pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of sending the ricin letters and also trying to frame another man for the crimes.

Sentencing on the fondling charges will take place after Dutschke is sentenced on the ricin-letter charges. He faces up to 300 months in federal prison for those charges.

Last week, Dutscke pleaded guilty to four counts of developing and mailing ricin-laced letters to political officials including the Presdient, Senator Roger Wicker, and Lee County Justice Court Judge, Sadie Holland.