Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I love a good feud

I have to confess, I'm kind of in love with this ricin case. It started out seeming like an anthrax copycat. Remember how the anthrax stuff happened in the shadow of 9/11? And now we had the Boston Marathon bombing followed quickly by news that a Senator and the President both had letters sent to them that might have another deadly poison in them.

Then we quickly started hearing that they knew who the sender was. Another politician, from Mississippi like the targeted Senator, made some comment like, "Oh, yeah, we know this guy. We hear from this guy a lot." It reminded me of the way some district courts undoubtedly feel when they get yet another pro se filing from a particularly squeaky wheel defendant.

Then they identified their suspect and we found his Facebook page. And, oh, it was glorious! He's an Elvis impersonator! And he believes the government is behind a massive conspiracy to sell organs. (Or something like that, I'm not quite clear because his rantings weren't all that coherent.) In short, he seemed like exactly the kind of wacko who would threaten government officials. And he signed off with the very same signature line those letters ended with!

But then it got so much better! Because he was released without bond. Seems like an awfully lenient action for a defendant charged with threatening the President... The first hint I saw of where this case would eventually lead was on the message boards of nbcnews.com, where someone swearing to be from Mississippi wrote that everyone locally knew that he'd been released because he'd been framed by another guy who had it out for him. Turns out a search of the Elvis impersonator's property yielded absolutely no hint of anything ricin-related. And now that we think about it, it's awfully convenient that the letters so clearly mirrored his words that are prominently displayed on the internet. Why, it's exactly how another guy would sign off on those letters if he wanted this guy to be the suspect...

And sure enough, that new guy's property was searched and he was arrested at something like 3 a.m., which is a pretty good indicator they are a little worried about the guy. So now this new guy was denied bond. And officials say that a search of his property did yield ricin-related evidence. (I will say, this guy's only a Karate instructor, which is less fun than an Elvis impersonator, so that's a bummer.)

So now the question is did the karate instructor really want to target this Senator and the President? Or is he just after the Elvis impersonator? If it's a big feud, it's probably the latter, right?

I really love a good feud. I love the idea of some wacky, small town feud getting so big and so over-the-top that it results in one guy threatening the President and framing the other guy for it. We have one county here in Kansas that is known for its crazy feuds. Well, known to criminal defense attorneys, anyway. But our feuds result in gun shots to the leg and showdowns in parking lots with baseball bats. Nothing like sending deadly poisons to the capitol. That, my friends, is commitment to the feud.

And it is fantastically entertaining.

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