Police Find Ricin in Wayne Newton Impersonator's Taekwondo Studio

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Yes, this story gets weider: Police have found evidence indicating that the man arrested for sending ricin-tainted letters to DC attempted to create the poison. According to the AP, a dust mask found in Everett Dutschke's martial arts studio tested positive for the potent poison.

Perhaps we should back up, in case you are just tuning in. After letters addressed to a senator and the president were found to be tainted with ricin, the FBI earlier this month arrested a Mississippi Elvis impersonator who had an interesting set of obsessions. That man, Paul Kevin Curtis, swore he was innocent, despite the inclusion of certain phrases in the letters that Curtis used on his Facebook page. But it turns out the FBI agreed. They quickly released Curtis, turning their attention to another suspect, J. Everrett Dutschke, an insurance-selling taekowndo instructor who fronts a band called Dusty and the Robodrums. He was arrested on Saturday, after the father of one of his taekwondo students helped him evade the cops. We hasten to note: None of this is made-up. And it has all happened in the past two weeks.

Today, the evidence against Dutschke got a little stronger. In addition to the ricin-positive dust mask, investigators apparently discovered that he'd also purchased castor beans over the internet. (Ricin is a derivative of the beans.) It's not clear from which site he bought the beans, though a preliminary look at Amazon informs us that you can buy a six-by-four foot wall appliqué featuring an image of castor beans.

Recommended Reading

The working theory, then, is that Dutschke tried to frame Curtis. We outlined some possible motives last week, involving disputes over Mensa memberships and rivalries centered on their competing musical impersonation businesses. Oh, did we not mention that Dutschke is a Wayne Newton impersonator? Dutschke is a Wayne Newton impersonator.

Dutschke claims he's innocent, the AP reports, saying "he’s a patriot with no grudges against anyone." And at this point, we're inclined to believe him. This story clearly has at least six more weird twists before it's resolved.

Photo: An FBI agent searches Dutschke's property, aided by one of Dutschke's dogs. (AP)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.