(1977-08-31) August 31, 1977
Bowie County, Texas, U.S.
|Other names||Shannon Rogers Guess
Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson
Shannon Guess Richardson
|Occupation||Prisoner, former actress|
|Known for||Sending letters laced with ricin|
|Criminal charge||Possession of a toxin for use as a weapon|
|Criminal penalty||18 years’ imprisonment
$367,000 in restitution
Nathan Richardson (m. 2011–2014)
Shannon Guess Richardson (née Rogers; born August 31, 1977) is a convicted felon and American actress. 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, while attempting to frame her husband. She was convicted and sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment in July 2014.
Richardson was abandoned by her mother at the age of 2 and raised by her father, Terry Rogers. Terry worked at General Motors in Doraville, Georgia. She was the oldest of 3 children, having one younger brother and one younger sister. 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 with her two previous husbands and was pregnant with her sixth child. 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. 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 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. 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 216 months 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.
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. The episode was titled “Poison Love”.