Shannon Richardson (née Rogers; born August 31, 1977) is a former American actress and convicted felon. She worked in television and film roles, most notably The Walking Dead, but is best known for sending ricin-laced letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, for which she was convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in July 2014.
Richardson appeared in minor roles in television shows and films such as The Vampire Diaries, Franklin & Bash, The Change-Up, and The Walking Dead.
At the time of her arrest, Richardson lived in New Boston, Texas. She has been married three times. On October 8, 2011, she married Nathan Richardson, a U.S. Army veteran who works as a mechanic in a military depot. He filed for divorce in June 2013.
At the time of her arrest in June 2013, Richardson had five children, ranging in age from 4 to 19, and was pregnant with her sixth child. None of Richardson's children were fathered by her current husband. On July 4, 2013, Richardson gave birth to a baby boy, named Brody, while in custody. Officials said that the baby was born four months prematurely, weighed only two pounds at birth, and that he needed to remain hospitalized. In August 2013, Nathan Richardson won temporary custody of Brody.
Arrest and conviction:
In May 2013, while going through a divorce, Richardson called the police and accused her husband, Nathan Richardson, of mailing letters laced with the poison ricin to several politicians. Nathan Richardson has not been charged with any crime. He told investigators that his wife set him up. Investigators found evidence that she had mailed the ricin-laced letters herself in an effort to set up her estranged husband. Richardson was arrested on June 7, 2013 for her alleged involvement in ricin-laced letters being sent to politicians such as President Barack Obama and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. She was charged with "mailing a threatening letter to President Barack Obama".
On June 6, Richardson confessed that she had mailed the three letters, knowing they contained ricin, but claimed her husband made her mail the letters. On June 20, a federal judge ordered Richardson be given a psychological examination, based on a request from her court-appointed attorney, who said she had shown "a pattern of behavior" that raised questions about her ability to assist in her own criminal defense.
On June 28, Richardson was indicted and charged in the mailing of ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg. The three-count indictment accused her of mailing three threatening letters around May 20 to Obama, Bloomberg, and Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. A criminal complaint filed on June 7 revealed that the FBI had used Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT), a previously undisclosed mass surveillance program run by the U.S. Postal Service, to narrow its investigation to Richardson.
On November 22, Richardson reached a plea agreement on three counts. On December 10, she pled guilty and was sent to the Texas State Prison System. The U.S. government contracts with county and state officials nationwide to hold federal prisoners pending trial. On July 16, 2014, Richardson was sentenced to 18 years in prison for sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg.
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