Shannon Richardson

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Shannon Richardson
Shannon Rogers

1977/1978 (age 40–41)
Other namesShannon Rogers Guess[1]
Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson[2]
Shannon Guess Richardson[3][4]
Occupationformer actress
Years active2009–2013
Known forSending letters laced with ricin
Criminal chargePossession of a toxin for use as a weapon
Criminal penalty18 years' imprisonment
$367,000 in restitution[5]
Criminal statusIncarcerated[6]
Nathan Richardson (m. 2011–2014)

Shannon Guess Richardson (née Rogers; born 1977/1978)[8] is a convicted felon and American actress.[8] She worked in television and film roles, including 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, while attempting to frame her husband. She was convicted and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment in July 2014.[9][10]


Richardson appeared in minor roles in television series such as The Vampire Diaries, Franklin & Bash, and The Walking Dead.[11][12][13]

Personal life[edit]

Richardson was abandoned by her mother at the age of two and raised by her father, Terry Rogers. Terry worked at General Motors in Doraville, Georgia. She was the oldest of three children, having one younger brother and one younger sister.[14] At the time of her arrest, Richardson lived in New Boston, Texas.[15][16] She has been married three times.[1] On October 8, 2011, she married Nathan Richardson, a U.S. Army veteran who works as a mechanic in a military depot.[8] He filed for divorce in June 2013.[5]

At the time of her arrest in June 2013, Richardson had five children, ranging in age from 4 to 19 with her two previous husbands and was pregnant with her sixth child.[17][17][18] On July 4, 2013, Richardson gave birth to a 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.[19] In August 2013, Nathan Richardson won temporary custody of Brody.[20][21]

Arrest and conviction[edit]

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.[1][18] Nathan Richardson has not been charged with any crime.[1][22][23] He told investigators that his wife set him up.[24] Investigators found evidence that she had mailed the ricin-laced letters herself in an effort to set up her estranged husband.[15][25][26]

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.[27][28] She was charged with "mailing a threatening letter to President Barack Obama".[4][29]

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.[4] 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.[30]

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.[10] 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.[31]

On November 22, Richardson reached a plea agreement on three counts.[32] On December 10, she pleaded 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.[33] On July 16, 2014 most of the charges against Richardson were dropped as per her plea agreement. The charges of making threats against the President of the United States and mailing threatening communications were dropped. Richardson was convicted of the charge pertaining to manufacture and possession of a biological weapon and sentenced to 18 years in prison, $367,222 in restitution, $100 special assessment fee (for psychological testing), 5 years' supervised release and ordered to undergo psychological treatment while in prison and continue psychological treatment after her release.[34]

On March 16, 2015 the Investigation Discovery channel aired episode 8 of season 5 of the television show Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry? which featured Shannon Richardson's case as told by her ex-husband Nathan Richardson.[35] The episode was titled "Poison Love".[35]


  1. ^ a b c d "Texas man held by FBI in Obama threat, Bloomberg ricin letter cases revealed". New York: NY Daily News. May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  2. ^ "Actress charged in ricin letters sent to Obama, Bloomberg". November 14, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Shannon Guess Affidavit". 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Goldstein, Joseph (2013-06-07). "Woman from Texas Is Charged in Ricin Case". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b McLaughlin, Eliott C. (July 16, 2014). "Texas actress who sent Obama ricin sentenced to 18 years".
  6. ^ Aliceville Federal Correctional Institution, 21213-078
  7. ^ "Person of Interest in Ricin Letters Case". May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Martinez, Michael; Candiotti, Susan; Cratty, Carol (June 7, 2013). "Texas actress first accuses husband, but she's arrested in ricin case". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2013. Shannon Richardson, 35, also known as Shannon Rogers and Shannon Guess...
  9. ^ "BBC News - Texas actress held over ricin letter 'gun threat'". June 8, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "'Vampire Diaries' Actress Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson Indicted On 3 Counts For Sending Ricin Letters". International Business Times. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  11. ^ Walker, Hunter (May 31, 2013). "Feds Focus On Texas Man In Latest Ricin Letters Case | TPMDC". Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  12. ^ "TV Actress Arrested for Sending Ricin Letters - Philip Bump". The Atlantic Wire. May 30, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  13. ^ "TV producers blast alleged ricin plot actress on Twitter as a nobody: 'Never heard of her'". New York Post.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Deutsch, Kevin (2013-06-07). "Feds: Actress arrested in ricin case". Newsday.
  16. ^ "Man at center of ricin investigation attended James Bowie High in Simms". Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  17. ^ a b "AP sources: Texas actress arrested in ricin case". May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Fernandez, Manny (May 31, 2013). "Inquiry Into Obama and Bloomberg Ricin Letters Leads to Search of a Texas House". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Merchant, Nomaan (July 23, 2013). "Texas actress has plea deal over ricin letters sent to Obama, Bloomberg".
  20. ^ "Texas father gets custody of ricin-suspect's baby". August 27, 2013.
  21. ^ LaRowe, Lynn (August 27, 2013). "Husband gets custody of infant in ricin case".
  22. ^ Memmott, Mark. "Reports: Husband Cleared, Wife Arrested In Latest Ricin Case : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Hosenball, Mark (May 31, 2013). "Texas man investigated over ricin letters to Obama - Chicago Tribune". Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  24. ^ "Texas couple blames each other for ricin-laced letters". CBS News. May 31, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  25. ^ "Texas woman arrested in ricin letters to Obama, Bloomberg: Officials - U.S. News". October 24, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  26. ^ "Texas woman who told FBI her husband sent ricin-tainted letters is arrested". Fox News. June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  27. ^ "Actress arrested for ricin-laced letters sent to President". USA Today. June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  28. ^ Mattingly, Phil (May 6, 2013). "Woman Said to Be Arrested for Obama, Bloomberg Ricin Letters". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  29. ^ "Actress Arrested". Talking Points Memo. 2013.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Nixon, Ron (July 3, 2013). "U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement". New York Times.
  32. ^ "Texas actress has plea deal over ricin letters sent to Obama, Bloomberg". November 24, 2013.
  33. ^ Merchant, Nomaan (December 10, 2013). "Texas Woman Admits To Sending Ricin To Obama". Associated Press via Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  34. ^ "CM/ECF LIVE - U.S. District Court:txed". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  35. ^ a b "Poison Love | Who the (BLEEP) Did I Marry?". Retrieved 2018-03-27.

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