Austin | Dallas | Houston
Marital Mayhem

Texas actress gets 18 years in prison for attempting to poison President Obama

Enlarge
Image
Shannon Guess Richardson
Shannon Guess Richardson had roles in The Walking Dead and Blind Side before being arrested on biological weapons charges. Photo via Walking Dead Zone

The bizarre case involving a Texas actress, three ricin-laced letters and President Barack Obama has come to an end. Shannon Guess Richardson, a 35-year-old woman from New Boston, Texas, near Texarkana, was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on July 16.

Richardson, a married mother of six, has appeared in episodes of The Walking Dead and in the movie The Blind Side. She allegedly gave birth to her sixth child while in federal custody for this crime.

 Shannon Guess Richardson initially reported her husband was responsible for the ricin-laced letters.

After a lengthy investigation that included the FBI, the Secret Service, and police departments in New York and Texas, Richardson pleaded guilty to biological weapons charges. She initially reported her husband, Nathan, was responsible for the ricin-laced letters that were mailed to Obama, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and gun control advocate Mark Glaze.

Nathan Richardson has since filed for divorce.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between April and May 2013, Richardson made online purchases of castor bean seeds and sodium hydroxide, which are used to make ricin. On May 20, 2013, Richardson mailed letters containing the biological toxins to Obama, Bloomberg and Glaze from the New Boston post office.

Ten days later, she told police her husband was behind the ricin-laced letters. There is no known cure for ricin poisoning once it enters the body through ingestion, inhalation or injection.

"Today's sentencing brings an appropriate and just end to what is surely one of our most unusual, even bizarre cases," U.S. Attorney John Bales said in a statement. "The investigation was also very challenging, and I hope that East Texans are encouraged to know that their East Texas law enforcement proved to be amazingly resourceful, determined and focused in all facets of this prosecution."

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Austin news, views + events

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address