Woman Indicted Over Ricin Letters to Obama, Bloomberg

Shannon Guess Richardson, the Texas woman who told federal agents her husband sent letters containing ricin to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was indicted for sending the threatening letters.

The former actress faces three counts in an indictment a federal grand jury returned yesterday in Texarkana, Texas. If convicted, she faces as long as five years in prison for each charge, the Justice Department said in a statement.

She was previously charged in a criminal complaint with mailing a threatening communication. In the indictment, she is accused of threatening the president of the U.S. and two counts of mailing a threatening communication.

Besides Obama and Bloomberg, prosecutors said, she sent a ricin-laced letter to Mark Glaze in Washington, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group co-founded by Bloomberg.

Richardson has been in custody since June 7. The letters were intercepted before they reached the intended recipients.

Tonda Curry, a lawyer representing Richardson, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. At Curry’s request, Richardson is being held for a psychiatric evaluation, according to court records.

Richardson, who appeared in the TV series “The Walking Dead,” initially approached the Federal Bureau of Investigation claiming her husband wanted to poison her, authorities said.

Polygraph Exam

She failed a polygraph exam when she was questioned a second time after agents searched her home and the husband’s car, according to the FBI. She then said her husband coerced her into mailing the letters.

Ricin is made from castor beans and has been used experimentally in medicine to kill cancer cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It’s potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested.

The mayor of New York is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The case is U.S. v. Richardson, 5:13-cr-00013, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Texarkana).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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