Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, who admitted to sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been sentenced to 18 years and a $367,000 fined.

“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.

7 months ago, Richardson pled guilty to possession of a toxin for use as a weapon.  Richardson faced a maximum of life in prison, but according to plea deal terms, she received 18 years.

Three envelopes containing the natural, highly toxic compound derived from castor beans were mailed from Shreveport, Louisiana in mid-2013.  Records showed that Richardson purchased castor beans and lye, another ingredient in ricin online around that same time.  Richardson lived about 90 miles north of Shreveport.

In addition, to Obama and Bloomberg, a poisoned letter was also sent to Mark Glaze, the former director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  The letters contained very low concentrations of ricin and were discovered before causing injury or fatality.  The letters contained the following threat:

“You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”

Richardson who had small roles in several popular TV shows initially told FBI agents that her husband, Nathaniel, had sent the letters.  Investigators found that her computer storage devices contained threatening letters to the President and the couple’s computer showed that her husband couldn’t have printed the letters because he was at work.  Richardson then admitted to investigators that she mailed the letters, but claimed her husband wrote the letters and forced her to help him.

Nathaniel Richardson always maintained his innocence telling investigators that his wife was “intentionally misleading” them and that she wanted their marriage to be over.  Nathaniel Richardson filed for divorced less than a month later.  Shannon Richardson gave birth to a boy, Brody, a month after that.


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