JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for a man charged with sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials.
James Everett Dutschke is scheduled for a hearing in U.S. District Court in Oxford on Friday afternoon, according to court documents.
Dutschke, 42, previously pleaded not guilty and denied sending the letters. He also denied a later charge that, while incarcerated, he tried to recruit someone else to send a ricin-tainted letter.
Dutschke has been jailed since April on charges of sending ricin-tainted letters to Obama, Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Mississippi judge. The judge was the only one to receive a letter, though she was not harmed. The letters to Obama and Wicker were intercepted.
Authorities first arrested Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis for allegedly sending the letters, which contained statements that Curtis had often used on his Facebook page, including the line, "I am KC and I approve this message." The letters also contained the phrase "Missing Pieces," the same title as an unpublished book Curtis wrote about his belief that there's a black market for body parts in the United States.
But charges against Curtis were dropped when the investigation shifted to Dutschke. Curtis says the men have feuded for years.
Dutschke is accused of trying to frame Curtis, both before and after Dutschke's own arrest. An indictment filed in November alleges that while incarcerated, he tried to recruit someone else to send a ricin-tainted letter.
According to the indictment, Dutschke wanted the latest letter to say: "It doesn't matter the Fife types have the wrong one. D. had to be sacrificed to show the corruption in the system. I tried to warn you. Ha. K."
Dutschke is a former martial arts instructor in the north Mississippi town of Tupelo, Elvis Presley's birthplace.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, the production of a biological weapon.
BANGKOK (AP) — Bangkok's emergency services center says 22 people were injured when an explosion hit marching anti-government protesters in the capital.
Protest spokesman Akanat Promphan said the movement's leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, was in the procession Monday but was not wounded.
Akanat said an explosive device was thrown into a truck driven by demonstrators that was several dozen meters ahead of Suthep.
Protesters trying to oust Yingluck Shinawatra have marched peacefully across the capital this week.
But small acts of violence have been reported nightly at protest venues, which have been targeted in shooting attacks and with small explosives hurled at the homes of top supporters.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Vanderbilt Commodores are so short-handed right now that they have a no room for error. Hitting a season-high 12 3-pointers helps.
Rod Odom scored a career-high 24 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and the Commodores beat Missouri 78-75 Thursday night in the Tigers' first visit to Memorial Gym as a member of the Southeastern Conference.
"That 3-point shot is a great equalizer," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.
Vanderbilt (9-6, 1-2) snapped a two-game skid by avoiding foul trouble and hitting a season-high 12 3-pointers. The Commodores are down to seven scholarship players after leading scorer Eric McClellan first was suspended from the university, then kicked off the team for good last week. They lost their first two games without McClellan and desperately needed a league win with three of the next four on the road.
"I'm really extremely proud of our team and just really, really proud of them because they had to dig in deep against a very good team to get this victory and they did," Stallings said. "And I'm very happy for them."
Missouri (13-3, 1-2) now has lost two of three. The Tigers were looking for their third road win this season trying to work their way back into the Top 25. Coach Frank Haith kept thinking after the game of a handful of easy layups his Tigers missed that could have been the difference.
"I think what really hurt us we missed at least seven chippies around the hoop," Haith said.
Kyle Fuller added 22 points for Vanderbilt. Dai-Jon Parker had 11, and Damian Jones added 10. Odom, Fuller and Parker all played 40 minutes.
"For me personally, playing 40 minutes is always OK," Odom said. "That's why you come to college is to play. We both have a great opportunity to play more than anybody could imagine."
Fuller laughed when asked if knowing Stallings has little option but to keep the senior guard on the floor. He had five assists with three turnovers. Fuller said he'll play as long as Stallings needs him to play.
"I'm just thankful we came out with a win today," Fuller said.
Jabari Brown scored 22 points for Missouri, while Jordan Clarkson had 18 and Ross 11.
The Tigers opened the second half by scoring the first eight points in taking their first lead since the opening bucket on a layup by Williams at 40-39. The teams swapped the lead back and forth before Fuller finished off a fast-break with a layup for Vanderbilt putting the Commodores back ahead 45-44 with 13:30 to go. That started a 10-2 spurt featuring a pair of 3s from Odom, the second giving Vandy a 53-46 lead with 10:52 remaining.
Misssouri pulled within 60-57 on a jumper by Brown with 4:17 left. First Fuller hit a 3-pointer, then Odom added his sixth 3 to push the lead to 66-59 with 2:00 left. The Tigers couldn't get closer than the final score on a 3-pointer by Clarkson with 2 seconds left as Vanderbilt went 6 of 7 at the free throw line in the final 40 seconds with Fuller hitting all six of attempts at the line to seal the win.
These are two of the SEC's best shooting teams and the league's best defending against the 3-pointer with Vanderbilt (27.8 percent) just ahead of Missouri (28.6 percent). The Commodores shredded Missouri's defense as they knocked down 3 after 3 and finished 12 of 32 (37.5 percent) — both season-highs allowed by the Tigers. That more than made up for Missouri outrebounding Vanderbilt 45-35 and the Tigers' 36-16 scoring edge in the paint.
Haith said they knew Vanderbilt is a good 3-point shooting team and were well aware of how well Parker and Odom can hit from outside.
"They made them," Haith said. "They shot them and made them. You've got to give them credit. They made some tough ones too."
Missouri opened the game with a 3 by Brown for the Tigers' biggest lead of the game.
Then Vanderbilt went on a 17-2 run started by a 3-pointer from Odom and Parker. Missouri countered with its own 14-4 run to get close. But the Commodores led 39-32 at halftime because they shot better from beyond the arc than they did inside as they hit 8 of their first 16 3-pointers.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Trevor Lewis gave Los Angeles some unexpected offense with two goals early in the third period of the Kings' 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
Lewis scored the tiebreaker on a deflection off a Blues player's skate, then got his second goal of the season on a short-handed wraparound, capitalizing on goalie Jaroslav Halak's stick-handling goof.
Jonathan Quick had 28 saves as the Kings snapped a five-game road losing streak in the opener of a five-game trip.
T.J. Oshie scored his first career goal on a penalty shot in the second period for the Blues, who snapped a five-game home winning streak. Oshie has 11 goals on the season and has five goals and four assists in his last six home games.