Former TV Actress Pleads Guilty to Sending Obama Ricin Letter

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 10 2013 6:00 PM

Former TV Actress Pleads Guilty to Sending Obama Ricin Letter

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A Texas woman pleads guilty to sending ricin-laced letters.

Photo by JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images

A former actress pleaded guilty to sending letters laced with the toxin ricin to President Obama on Tuesday. In a plea deal that would limit her prison term to 18 years, former actress Shannon Guess Richardson entered a guilty plea in a federal court in Texas to a charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin, the Associated Press reports.

Richardson’s case is an unusual one in that, according to prosecutors, it was part of a plot to frame her estranged husband who had recently filed for divorce. In June, Richardson mailed three letters containing ricin, which is deadly when inhaled, and then told police her husband was the culprit. According to court documents, the letter to Obama read: "What's in this letter is nothing compared to what ive got in store for you mr president. 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." The two other letters were sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns advocacy group.

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Richardson, who played small roles in “The Walking Dead” and “The Vampire Diaries” tv series, was arrested in June after, according to the AP, prosecutors noticed inconsistencies in her statements and later discovered she had purchased the materials to produce ricin online. According to the AP, Richardson “acknowledged in a signed plea agreement document filed Tuesday that she ordered castor beans online and learned how to process them into a substance used to make ricin.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.