Woman accused of mailing ricin to Obama gets plea deal

Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:28am EST

Shannon Richardson is pictured in this booking photo, courtesy of Titus County Sheriff's Office, made available on June 8, 2013. REUTERS/Titus County Sheriff's Office/Handout

Shannon Richardson is pictured in this booking photo, courtesy of Titus County Sheriff's Office, made available on June 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Titus County Sheriff's Office/Handout

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(Reuters) - A Texas actress accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to federal court documents.

Shannon Guess Richardson, 36, whose acting career included minor television roles, had attempted to blame her husband for sending the letters in May that tested positive for the presence of ricin, according to prosecutors.

Notice of the plea deal was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Richardson's attorney, Tonda Curry, could not be immediately reached to detail the terms of the plea agreement.

Richardson was arrested in June and a federal grand jury accused her in a three-count indictment of mailing the letters to Obama, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by Bloomberg that lobbies for stricter gun laws.

Ricin, a highly toxic substance, is found naturally in castor beans, but it takes a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to even a small amount can cause death and no known antidote exists.

The New Boston, Texas, woman is charged with one count of making a threat against the president of the United States and two counts of mailing threatening communications. She faces up to five years in prison on each count if convicted.

The letters read, in part: "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," according to court documents.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (12)
Robert76 wrote:
Plea Bargain? Sending Ricin to any government official is an act of terrorism. Maybe she ought to be sent to GITMO, to spend time with fellow terrorists.

Nov 23, 2013 11:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
lejardin wrote:
Plea deal? She should be given a medal!

Nov 24, 2013 1:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
piscesmike wrote:
You know I am no fan of the people that this woman was going all psychotic on, but I have to say this does seem like rather light charges and associated sentencing time.

Nov 24, 2013 2:33am EST  --  Report as abuse
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