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ricin letter

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Actress Shannon Richardson, who posted ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been given an 18-year prison term.

Shannon Richardson, 36, from Texas, had accused her estranged husband Nathaniel of sending the three poisoned letters in an apparent attempt to frame him.

“I never intended for anybody to be hurt,” the actress told the court.

Shannon Richardson pleaded guilty in December to the charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin.

Shannon Richardson posted ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Shannon Richardson posted ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

A federal judge gave her the maximum sentence under that plea deal and ordered her to pay restitution of about $367,000.

Shannon Richardson, a mother of six, has played small roles in The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead, according to IMDB.

Prosecutors say that after ordering the ingredients online, Shannon Richardson made the ricin and then posted three letters before going to police and claiming her estranged husband was to blame.

According to a federal indictment, one letter to Barack Obama read, exactly as she wrote it: “What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what ive got in store for you mr president.”

Another letter received by Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate, contained a threat to “shoot in the face” anyone who came for the sender’s guns.

A third ricin-laced letter was opened by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control advocacy group founded by Michael Bloomberg.

In asking the judge for leniency on Wednesday, Shannon Richardson apologized and said: “I’m not a bad person. I don’t have it in me to hurt anyone.”

Shannon Richardson asked for “mercy and compassion” and said she’d already been punished by being parted from her six children.

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Texas actress Shannon Guess Richardson, who is accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to federal court documents.

Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, whose acting career included minor television roles, had attempted to blame her husband for sending the letters in May that tested positive for the presence of ricin, according to prosecutors.

Notice of the plea deal was filed on Thursday in US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Shannon Guess Richardson is accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Shannon Guess Richardson is accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Shannon Guess Richardson was arrested in June and a federal grand jury accused her in a three-count indictment of mailing the letters to Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by Bloomberg that lobbies for stricter gun laws.

Ricin, a highly toxic substance, is found naturally in castor beans, but it takes a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people, according to the CDC. Exposure to even a small amount can cause death and no known antidote exists.

Shannon Guess Richardson is charged with one count of making a threat against the president of the US and two counts of mailing threatening communications. She faces up to five years in prison on each count if convicted.

According to court documents, the letters read, in part: “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.”

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Texas actress Shannon Richardson has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama after allegedly posting ricin-laced letters to him.

Shannon Richardson, 35, a pregnant mother of five, first accused her husband Nathaniel of sending the letters, but authorities say she sent them.

Agents in protective suits searched her home in New Boston on Wednesday.

Shannon Rogers has had small roles in The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead, according to the film database IMDB.

On Friday, Shannon Richardson made a brief appearance in a courtroom in Texarkana, Texas, accused of sending a threatening communication to the president.

The federal charge carries up to 10 years in prison, according to US attorney’s office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston.

Officials say Shannon Richardson contacted the FBI on May 30 to implicate her estranged husband in the letters, which were also sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

But investigators found a number of inconsistencies in her story and she failed a lie-detector test, according to an FBI affidavit.

During an interview with authorities on Thursday, Shannon Richardson is said to have admitted posting the letters, knowing they contained ricin.

Shannon Richardson has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama after allegedly posting ricin-laced letters to him

Shannon Richardson has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama after allegedly posting ricin-laced letters to him

But she claimed her husband Nathaniel Richardson had typed them before making her post them, the affidavit states.

Three letters were sent from Shreveport, Louisiana, on May 20, without a return address.

No charges have been filed against her husband, Nathaniel Richardson.

His lawyer, John Delk, told the Associated Press news agency on Friday his client was innocent and pleased with his wife’s arrest.

John Delk said his client, a 33-year-old military mechanic at a Texarkana Army depot, was in the process of getting a divorce from his wife, whom he married in October 2011.

The lawyer said the couple were expecting their first child this October and that Shannon Richardson has five other children from previous relationships.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement on Friday thanking investigators “for their outstanding work in apprehending a suspect”.

The letter sent to him referenced his support of stricter gun control, reportedly containing a threat to “shoot in the face” anyone who came for the sender’s guns.

In a separate case, a Mississippi man was charged earlier this month with sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, a judge and a state senator.

In that case, James Dutschke is accused of sending the letters to frame a local Tupelo Elvis impersonator, with whom he had reportedly fallen out.

Another man has been arrested in Washington state in connection with letters sent to a judge, a local air force base, a post office and the president.

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Paul Kevin Curtis from Mississippi has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama, after allegedly sending a letter containing suspected ricin to him.

Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested on Wednesday after letters were found addressed to Barack Obama and Republican Senator Roger Wicker.

Initial tests on the letters, identified at remote facilities, showed the presence of the lethal toxin.

The FBI has said there is “no indication of a connection” between the letters and Monday’s Boston Marathon attacks.

The letters addressed to President Barack Obama and Republican Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker were both postmarked Memphis, Tennessee, and dated April 8.

Paul Kevin Curtis has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama after sending a letter containing suspected ricin to him

Paul Kevin Curtis has been charged with threatening President Barack Obama after sending a letter containing suspected ricin to him

According to US media citing intelligence sources, the letters read: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

They were reportedly signed: “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The FBI said Paul Kevin Curtis also allegedly sent a third letter positively identified for ricin to a Mississippi justice official.

The contents of the letter intended for President Barack Obama were being sent to an accredited laboratory for further analysis, the FBI said, with results expected in 24 to 48 hours.

Paul Kevin Curtis’ relatives earlier expressed shock at the news of his arrest, describing him as a natural musical performer who would impersonate Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.

A letter posted to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker at the US Senate has been tested positive for the lethal toxin ricin or another poisonous substance, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said.

The letter was intercepted at a centre handling post for the Capitol in Washington DC, US media report.

Ricin, extracted from castor beans, is 1,000 times more toxic than cyanide.

It can be fatal when inhaled, swallowed or injected, although it is possible to recover from exposure.

Roger Wicker issued a statement on Tuesday acknowledging the letter.

“This matter is part of an ongoing investigation by the United States Capitol Police and FBI,” he said.

“I want to thank our law enforcement officials for their hard work and diligence in keeping those of us who work in the Capitol complex safe.”

An official quoted by AP news agency said two tests had shown positive for ricin but the results are not deemed conclusive without further testing.

A letter posted to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker at the US Senate has been tested positive for the lethal toxin ricin or another poisonous substance

A letter posted to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker at the US Senate has been tested positive for the lethal toxin ricin or another poisonous substance

The letter was detected during a routine inspection of mail and did not reach the US Capitol or Senator Roger Wicker’s office, a Senate leadership aide was quoted as saying.

Senators were informed of the letter at a closed-door briefing by FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the Boston Marathon bombings, the aide added.

There is a heightened sense of alert in the US capital after the attacks in Boston but there is no indication so far of any connection between the two incidents.

It is also not clear why the letter was sent to Senator Roger Wicker.

The Senate’s chief security office told Reuters: “The exterior marking on the envelope in this case was not outwardly suspicious, but it was postmarked from Memphis, Tennessee.”

All mail sent to members of Congress has been screened off-site since letters laced with anthrax were sent to Capitol Hill in 2001.

In 2004, three Senate office buildings were shut after tests found ricin in letters that had been sent to the Senate majority leader’s office.

Ricin was the poison used for the infamous murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in September 1978.

Georgi Markov was waiting at a bus stop near Waterloo Bridge, London, when a stranger jabbed him in the leg with an umbrella.

The umbrella injected a tiny ricin-filled pellet into Georgi Markov’s leg and he died three days later in hospital.

Ricin:

  • Can be fatal when inhaled, ingested or – most dangerously – injected
  • One to three castor beans chewed by a child, or just eight seeds chewed by an adult, can be fatal
  • The toxin is part of the waste produced when castor oil is made

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