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Texas Actress Gets 18 Years for Obama Ricin Letter

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- A Texas actress was sentenced to 18 years in prison for sending threatening letters laced with deadly ricin powder to President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, pleaded guilty to a biological weapons charge in December. Her sentence, imposed today in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, included a restitution order of about $367,000, according to court records.

Richardson has been in custody since June 2013, when she was arrested about a week after telling federal agents she suspected her husband of sending poison-laced letters to elected officials.

Agents found ricin-making supplies at her home, along with evidence that she had ordered the materials and created the mailing labels using her laptop computer while her husband was at work.

The letters were intercepted before they reached their targets, and no one was injured by the deadly powder.

The actress, who played a small role in the TV series “The Walking Dead,” gave birth prematurely to her sixth child while jailed for psychiatric evaluation following her arrest. Her husband, who has custody of the baby, filed for divorce shortly thereafter.

Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

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