Texas Actress Who Sent Ricin Letter to the President Gets 18 Years

Shannon Guess Richardson
Titus County Sheriff’s Department
Shannon Guess Richardson
Titus County Sheriff’s Department

A Texas actress who mailed ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control advocate was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. 


Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, pleaded guilty in December to the federal charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. In exchange for her guilty plea, Richardson's attorney reached a deal that would cap her sentence at 18 years. Richardson is also required to pay restitution, AP reports.

It is unclear how life took such a turn for the actress, who had a few small television roles in shows like The Walking Dead. According to AP, Richardson mailed the three letters from just outside the Texarkana, Texas, area and then told police that her estranged husband had done it. Police arrested Richardson in late June after finding inconsistencies in her story and learned later that she had purchased materials online that, when used together, make ricin, "a toxin that can cause respiratory failure if inhaled," AP reports. Police also learned that Richardson's estranged husband, Nathan Richardson, had filed for divorce.

AP notes that Richardson gave birth to her sixth child prematurely while she was in custody. She would tell police later that she mailed the letters and tried to place the blame on her husband.

Her letter to the president read, "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what ive got in store for you mr president," according to the document. "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face."

Read more at the Huffington Post.