Texas Actress Gets 18 Years in Obama Ricin Threats

Shannon Richardson had tried to frame estranged husband
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2014 12:48 PM CDT
Texas Actress Gets 18 Years in Obama Ricin Threats
In this June, 7, 2013, file photo, Shannon Richardson is escorted to a Titus County Sheriff's car after a court appearance in Texarkana, Texas.   (AP Photo/Texarkana Gazette, Curt Youngblood, File)

A Texas woman who had minor roles in The Walking Dead and the The Blind Side was sentenced today to 18 years in prison for sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Michael Bloomberg. A judge sentenced Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, in federal court in Texarkana on a federal charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. She had pleaded guilty to the charge in December in a deal her attorney said capped the sentence at 18 years. Richardson also must pay restitution.

Richardson was arrested in June 2013 after authorities said she tried to implicate her estranged husband Nathan Richardson, who had filed for divorce, for mailing the three letters; she later gave birth in jail. Investigators noted inconsistencies in Richardson's statements and later learned that she had purchased materials online to produce ricin, a toxin that can cause respiratory failure if inhaled. Richardson acknowledged in a signed plea agreement that she ordered castor beans online and learned how to process them into a substance used to make ricin. She obtained an email address, a PayPal shopping account, and a post office box in her husband's name without his knowledge, according to the document. (Read more Shannon Richardson stories.)

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