Benefit planned for man erroneously charged with sending poison letters to president, others
Funds also being raised to fund documentary about his experience
James Everett Dutschke was scheduled to be sentenced in Aberdeen Tuesday relating to charges of making ricin and mailing poisoned letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland last April and then framing another individual – Ken Curtis – for the crime.
Although the plot involving Elvis impersonators, alleged hospital conspiracies, karate instructions and poison letters might seem too unbelievable for a movie, a movie is exactly what it is turning into.
Oxford reporter and now director Melanie Addington became interested in the case of Curtis who was first charged and, some say, arguably convicted in the press before federal officials realized they had the wrong man just short of committing Curtis to a mental evaluation process that could have kept him in custody longer.
So interested was Addington that she decided to make a documentary about Curtis’ case, attempting to raise party of the funding through internet “crowdsourcing.”
And New Albany native, MGM vice-president and independent producer Hudson Hickman has become involved as well.
The film, a documentary, is called “I Didn’t Do It,” and tells how the experience robbed Cutis “of his rights, livelihood and more.”
Also to help raise funds for the film and aid Curtis directly, organizers are sponsoring a benefit May 15 at the Lyric Oxford featuring Curtis performing. They have named the event “The Kevin Curtis : F.B.I.O.U. A Ricin Roll Concert.”
For those who don’t remember the initial part of the case, the event press release for the Oxford event recalls it:
“Just days after the Boston Marathon bombing, a ‘crazy Elvis impersonator’ Kevin Curtis was arrested and charged by the U.S. government for sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama. The only problem was he was innocent, the victim of a damaging revenge attack by a long-time arch -enemy and rival. Curtis was released from custody six days later, but not before his life had been completely decimated.
“The fallout from the arrest was shattering. It left Curtis facing legal bills, plus emotional distress from being apprehended with guns drawn and the resulting incarceration. His career as a ‘tribute artist’ for such stars as Johnny Cash, Prince and Elvis was annihilated, and the press made public his struggle with mental health. The violation of his rights and his attempts to legally redress the situation was devastating. Yet today, Curtis’ recovery of his life has begun, but there is a long way to go…”
The benefit is a free event, but with a suggested donation of $5. The concert will be hosted by production company Velvet Ditch Productions, raising the final funds to complete its documentary.
The concert will give Curtis the opportunity to re-start on his performance career. “I can’t describe how blessed I feel right now after such an extremely difficult year. I can’t wait to walk out on that stage again and give you a concert you will never forget,” Curtis said.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. Curtis will perform both original music and tributes to the many artists in his repertoire. The documentary crew of “I Didn’t Do It” will film the concert as part of the storyline of the film.
“We’re excited to showcase the talented performer we know Kevin to be. We think this will be a terrific evening of entertainment and a great opportunity for our friends and the community to support Mississippi film,” Director Addington said.
Anyone who donates $50 or more receives access to the VIP upstairs area courtesy of Square Pizza, Old Venice and more. A cash bar will be available to support the Lyric Oxford, which donated the space. The concert is being staged simultaneously with an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to fund production for“I Didn’t Do It.” (http://www.ididntdoitmovie.com.)
“’I Didn’t Do It’ is not just a compelling story filled with quirky, colorful characters where truth is stranger than fiction, ‘I Didn’t Do It’ is a cautionary tale for all Americans,” Hickman said. “When you learn what happened to Kevin Curtis behind the scenes, you’ll realize, what happened to Kevin Curtis could happen to any of us.”
To RSVP for “The Kevin Curtis : F.B.I.O.U. A Ricin Roll Concert,” visit Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/639305366158961/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming.
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- Bogue signs with Blue Mountain College softball
- Memorial Day to affect operating hours, service schedules
- Police continue drug fight with series of arrests
- Winners in the 2016 Mississippi Bluegrass Championships at the Down From the Hills Heritage Music festival
- Library’s annual summer reading program for children begins June 2