Shannon Guess Richardson, the Walking Dead actress who sent ricin-tainted letters to President Obama, Michael Glaze, then-director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Mayor Bloomberg in May of last year, pleaded guilty to her crime in December.
A note accompanying the ricin, which can cause respiratory failure if inhaled, read, “You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns,” the letter said. “Anyone [who] 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 exercise that right till the day I die. What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”
Richardson initially claimed that her estranged husband, an army veteran, sent the letters. However, the facts did not fit her narrative. Investigators noted inconsistencies in her assertions and discovered that she had purchased materials for making ricin online, and later obtained an admission that she had lied.
The small-time actress mailed three letters then went to police and reported that her husband had done it. Richardson set up a PayPal account, an e-mail address, and a P.O. box in her husband’s name without his knowledge. However, she claims she did not intend to hurt anyone by sending the dangerous substance.
On May 20 of last year, she waited for her husband to go to work then sent the letters. “After he left the house, I printed the mailing labels for President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Glaze with The Raben Group,” she said in the document.
“I never intended for anybody to be hurt,” she told the court, adding later, “I’m not a bad person; I don’t have it in me to hurt anyone.” Richardson said that she thought security measures would prevent the letters from being opened.
The actress was sentenced to eighteen years in prison–the maximum under her plea deal–for possessing and producing a biological toxin.
Richardson has had small roles in The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, and the movie “Blindside.”