“I know Kevin, I know his family,” McCoy said. “This is a huge shock.”
Meanwhile, another attorney who knows Curtis and once represented him said Curtis had suffered for years with a mental illness and that his family had struggled to keep him on medication to treat it.
“When he’s on his medication, he is delightful, charming, likable,” said Jim Waide, a family acquaintance who briefly represented Curtis a decade ago in a lawsuit against the medical center where Curtis worked as a janitor. “When he’s off his medication, he is paranoid and thinks people are out to get him.”
According to an FBI affidavit supporting the charges, Curtis allegedly mailed three identical letters on yellow paper laced with a poison believed to be ricin to the White House, to the office of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and to a judge in Tupelo, Miss. The letters alluded to a long-held conspiracy theory that Curtis had sought to expose, having to do with trafficking in human body parts.
“No one wanted to listen to me before,” the letters read. “There are still ‘Missing Pieces’ Maybe I have your attention now Even if that means someone must die…. I am KC and I approve this message.”
The FBI documents also said that in 2007, Curtis’s ex-wife reported to police in Booneville, Miss., that her husband was “extremely delusional, anti-government, and felt the government was spying on him with drones.”
In addition to the documents, what appear to be Curtis’s writings on Internet sites describe a man who worked as celebrity impersonator east of Memphis along the Mississippi-Tennessee border, dressing up and performing at parties as Prince, Buddy Holly and Kid Rock, and most often as Elvis Presley. A decade ago, Wicker said he had hired Curtis to perform as Elvis at an engagement party.
In one online profile bearing more than 800 photos of himself, Curtis typed this in his biography: “Father/Activist/Singer/Songwriter/Business Owner/Rebel.”
But a darker world apparently also existed for Curtis, according to frequent writings on social media Web sites, legal records and a lengthy trail of letters sent previously to lawmakers from Mississippi to Capitol Hill.
The man the FBI says unnerved much of official Washington this week, leaving mail handlers, staffers and aides seeing danger in any crinkled or unmarked envelope, was also a well-practiced conspiracy theorist. He wrote online that Elvis-impersonating contests had become rigged and politicized.