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Area residents shocked by news of poison letters

NATCHEZ — Residents say they were shocked by news the man accused of sending poison-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a local judge grew up in Natchez.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested Wednesday at his house in Corinth and faces two charges on accusations of threatening President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi judge.

Curtis attended Morgantown Middle and South Natchez High schools and performed locally as an Elvis Presley impersonator at the Jim Bowie Festival in Vidalia.

Resident Sharon Holloway said she met Curtis through a friend after he performed at the festival in 2011.

“He was super nice and very polite,” she said. “I was just so surprised to hear about this.”

Holloway said she is not completely convinced that Curtis is guilty of sending the letters.

“It’s too obvious; it’s almost like someone framed him,” she said.

Natchezian Yvonne Murray said she, too, was shocked.

“When I opened the paper, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” she said. “You just think if he did something like that, what else can he do?”

While the Natchez connection surprised some, for other residents the local tie was less worrisome than the horrible nature of the poisonous letter attacks.

“There’s a lot going on in the world without someone adding more to the fire,” Mike Taylor said.

Curtis’ reported actions would reflect poorly on Natchez, he said.

“It could make people think there’s people down here that don’t care and are just trying to harm people,” he said.

Meadville resident Maxine Hockett said she could not believe someone from the area would go as far as to send poisonous letters.

“No matter how bad you hate someone, you shouldn’t ever take that type of action,” she said.