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
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.
The FBI teamed up with the US Postal Service to track down ricin mailing suspect Shannon Guess Richardson using a system that snaps pictures of “every mail piece that is processed”, according to a complaint.
Filed Friday in Texas, the complaint details how federal investigators narrowed down the origin of the letters by reviewing the pieces of mail scanned before and after the ricin containing letters sent to President Barack Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a gun control lobby sponsored by the mayor.
Postmarked in Shreveport, Louisiana, the letters were processed at a regional distribution facility in the city, according to the complaint. Though in Louisiana, the plant also processes mail for parts of Arkansas and Texas, where Shannon Richardson resides, the complaint explains.
By referencing two separate batches of mail processed by the postal service’s Automated Facer Canceller System (ACFS) on May 20, as well as the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, which takes the actual pictures of the mail, agents determined the mail came from the area around New Boston, Texas, the complaint states.
FBI and the US Postal Service tracked ricin suspect Shannon Guess Richardson down using an advanced system that takes pictures of and tracks every piece of mail sent in the US
The first of the three letters, addressed to mayor Michael Bloomberg, was opened four days later at a mail center in Lower Manhattan. The second was opened two days later in Washington, D.C., by a staffer at The Raben Group, the Bloomberg-sponsored gun control lobbying firm. The third was intercepted on May 30 before reaching President Barack Obama, having been opened at the White House mail facility, the complaint detailed.
Shannon Richardson met in Shreveport with investigators later that day, accused her husband of sending the letters and turned over a book of stamps, which investigators determined on June 3 to be the same book of stamps the ricin letters postage came from, said the complaint posted on the Smoking Gun.
Further investigation led to warrant-less searches of the couple’s New Boston home, turning up castor beans – which contain the toxic ricin poison, saved letters matching those mailed and other physical evidence, according to the report.
The nail in Shannon Richardson’s accusatory coffin was that her husband, Nathaniel Richardson, was found to have been working a 10-hour shift starting 6:30 a.m., which was corroborated by coworkers, the day the letters were postmarked, the complaint states.
Shannon Richardson’s alibi in shambles, she confessed to trying to set her husband up, she mailed the letters – a photo finish to a lie and, perhaps, her marriage.
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
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.