Shannon Guess Richardson, a Texas actress, will serve 18 years in federal prison after she sent poison-laced letters to President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of a bizarre plot to frame her estranged husband, federal officials said Wednesday.
Richardson, 35, of New Boston, Texas, pleaded guilty late last year to writing the letters laced with ricin, a biological toxin with no antidote. She was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution, investigators said.
For the Record
July 16, 4 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misidentified Richardson as Henderson on several references.
Richardson sent the letters to the president, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the former director of Bloomberg's Every Town for Gun Safety, in May 2013.
Each letter contained the poison, which is made from compressed castor bean oil, and a threatening message.
"You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns," read the notes sent to Bloomberg and Glaze. "Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God given right and I will excersice [sic] that right til the day I die."
Richardson approached federal investigators after news of the letters went public, and claimed her husband was responsible. Her husband denied involvement and told investigators Richardson was trying to end their marriage, and she was ultimately arrested in June 2013 after failing a polygraph test.
“Today's sentencing brings an appropriate and just end to what is surely one of our most unusual, even bizarre cases,” John Bales, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, said in a statement.
Richardson's letters were one of two ricin-related incidents that sparked national paranoia after the Boston marathon bombings last year. Another man was arrested for trying to frame a Mississippi Elvis impersonator for sending threatening letters and ricin-based poisons to the president and other officials.
Richardson held minor roles in television series "The Walking Dead" and "The Vampire Diaries," as well as the film "The Blind Side," according to her IMDb profile.
Ricin gained attention in popular culture in recent years through the AMC drama "Breaking Bad," where it was a preferred weapon used by the series protagonist, Walter White.
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