Bad Month for Elvis Impersonators

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Micky King (photo-KETV)

Paul Kevin Curtis, the man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others before charges were dropped, wasn’t the only Elvis impersonator arrested lately.


A 53-year-old Elvis impersonator from Iowa, Michael Reed (stage name “Micky King”), was jailed in Iowa after firing a shotgun at police.


Law enforcement had shown up at Reed’s mother’s house, where he was living, to arrest him on a harassment charge. The encounter turned ugly, with Reed discharging his gun at least once at officers, who returned fire.


No one was hurt, and after a 30-hour standoff, Reed surrendered to authorities.


The news followed that of Curtis, the 45-year-old Elvis impersonator who was charged with sending letters containing ricin—a highly toxic substance made from castor beans—to the White House, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) and a state judge. He was arrested at his home, shackled, and—wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt—brought to a federal courthouse in Oxford, Mississippi.


Jim Waide, an attorney who had represented Curtis in a lawsuit when Curtis worked as a janitor, claimed that the performer suffered from a mental illness. “When he’s on his medication, he is delightful, charming, likable,” he said. “When he’s off his medication, he is paranoid and thinks people are out to get him.”


FBI documents reported that Curtis’s former wife told police in 2007 that he was “extremely delusional, anti-government, and felt the government was spying on him with drones.” The FBI also said that the ricin-laced letters dealt with a conspiracy theory pertaining to trafficking in human body parts, which Curtis had allegedly been trying to expose. According to his own online postings, Curtis had stumbled upon a bag of body parts while working as morgue cleaner.


The ricin charges against Curtis were later dropped, based on new information that has emerged in the case, as well as an alleged lack of evidence. Federal law enforcement continues to search for the culprit behind the mailings, but are leaving the door open to re-charge Curtis if the investigation warrants it. Indeed, even as Curtis was released on bond, the FBI continued to search his house.


Senator Wicker—one of the ricin recipients—told the press that he hired Curtis a week ago to perform as Elvis at an engagement party, and that he found him “quite entertaining.”

-Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Charges Dropped Against Miss. Man in Ricin Case as FBI Searches Second Home (by Lenny Bernstein and Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post)

Elvis Impersonator Triggers 30-Hour Police Standoff in Iowa (by Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story)

Elvis Impersonators All Shook Up Over Accused Ricin Letter-Sender (by Emily Heil, Washington Post)

Suspect in Ricin-Laced Mailings Charged (by Aaron C. Davis and Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post)

Hungarian Park to be Named after Elvis Presley (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 

Graceland Replica Opens…in Denmark  (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov) 

Auction of Elvis Presley’s Hair Leads to Lawsuit (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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