Shannon Guess Richardson has been sentenced to serve 18 years in a federal prison, CBS News is reporting today. Federal authorities say that 36-year-old Shannon Guess Richardson mailed three letters that contained ricin. One letters was sent directly to President Barack Obama’s office, the other was sent to NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. Police say Guess Richardson had intended to frame her husband for the crime.
The case of Shannon Guess Richardson made national headlines after authorities first arrested the wife and mother on June 7, 2013 and charged her for sending a threatening letter laced with ricin to President Barack Obama. Guess Richardson told investigators that it was never her intention to hurt the president or anyone else.
According to investigators, Shannon Guess Richardson went to a police station in Louisiana to accuse her husband of sending poison-laced letters to the president. When police became suspicious and probed further, she later changed her story and stated that her husband made her send the letters, according to the Daily Mail.
An analysis of Richardson’s computer revealed that she had searched the internet for the ingredients needed to make ricin, and then later bought the ingredients to make it. She also devised a plan to mail the letters and blame the scheme on her husband, Nathaniel Richardson aka Nathan Richardson, who was filing for divorce.
The Texas actress and mother of five children also searched for information on another ricin poison case out of Mississippi. In that case J. Everett Dutschke sent a letter to President Obama but tried to pin the crime on rival Paul Kevin Curtis. Curtis, a former Elvis impersonator, was originally charged with sending letters to Obama and other politicians but was eventually cleared once police found evidence that J. Everett Dutschke, had tried to frame Curtis, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Ricin is a poison that is naturally produced in castor beans. It is highly toxic and can cause death.
After pleading guilty in December, thrice married Shannon Guess Richardson took a plea agreement on November 22, 2013. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison on July 16, 2014. The former actress must also pay restitution.
Before the ricin-Obama crime case, Shannon Guess Richardson, formerly known as Shannon Rogers, appeared in several movies including: “The Walking Dead,” “The Blind Side” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
In popular culture, ricin poisoning was portrayed in an episode of “Breaking Bad,” which was most likely based on the Dutschke-Curtis true-crime case. Ricinus communis aka ricin-castor oil plant, is considered one of the deadliest plants in the world, according to IO9.