A Prince George's County, Md. firefighter, left, gets dressed in a protective suit before going into a government mail screening facility in Hyattsville, Md., Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Police swept across the U.S. Capitol complex to chase a flurry of reports of suspicious packages and envelopes Wednesday after preliminary tests indicated poisonous ricin in two letters sent to President Barack Obama and a Mississippi senator. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- The man charged with mailing letters with suspected ricin to the president and others was surprised by his arrest and maintains he is innocent, according to his attorney.
Paul Kevin Curtis appeared in a federal courtroom Thursday in Oxford, Miss., wearing shackles and a Johnny Cash T-shirt. His handcuffs were taken off during the brief hearing, and he said little.
His attorney, Christi R. McCoy, says Curtis "maintains 100 percent that he did not do this." She says she knows him and his family and that it is hard for her to believe the charges against him.
McCoy says she has not yet decided whether to seek a hearing to determine if Curtis is mentally competent to stand trial.