The Story of Actress Shannon Richardson and her Ricin-laced Letters

shannon richardson
Youtube/The Young Turks

“What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got in store for you, Mr. President,” the letter to Obama said.

The year was 2013 and the message recipient wasn’t just anyone, but US President Barack Obama. In addition, the sender sent similar letters to the New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the director of the organization against illegal weapon possession, Mark Glaze.

But nothing was what it seemed to be. The sender was 35-year-old at the time of doing, actress Shannon Richardson from Texas. Although she briefly starred in The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries series, she became famous for sending castor oil-coated letters to senior statesmen, including President Barack Obama.

And the motive was far simpler and banal than what it seemed to be – revenge. Her husband, Nathan Richardson, asked for a divorce and she decided to get back at him. One day in May, after he went to work, she sent letters to the people in question, and her plan was to blame her husband for the act.

She traveled 90 miles from her home in New Boston, Shreveport, Louisiana, and sent three castor oil-coated letters. Then she went to the police and reported what she thought her husband had committed. The woman naively thought that none of the letters would be opened in the head of state’s administration for security reasons, but that would be enough to accuse her husband.

However, her plans were screwed up. In about a month, she was found out and a trial began. In July 2014, the sentence was pronounced – 18 years in prison for possession and production of a highly toxic substance.

During interrogations, she stated that she was not a bad person and did not want to hurt anyone. However, this did not mitigate the circumstances and did not make her action more acceptable to investigators.

After noticing inaccuracies in her answers, they went in-depth about the matter even more. It was clear that Shannon Richardson had been buying seeds and products on the Internet to produce castor oil. The substance is extremely dangerous and causes painful death through ingestion, injection, or inhalation of its vapors.

She later admitted that she bought ricin plant seeds, trying to extract the toxic liquid from them. All this was bought through profiles and accounts using her husband’s name and he was completely unaware of this act.

Initially, she faced the maximum sentence, but after her confessions, the sentence was “mitigated” to 18 years in prison. In addition, the woman had to pay a $367,000 fine.

Shannon Richardson’s case was a typical story in Agatha Christie’s style. A married couple that was in the process of divorce. The woman decided to take matters into her own hands and take revenge.

The fact that she was an actress made things a little more extravagant. We also had the misconception and naivety typical of petty criminals that not only would they get away with it, but their plan would work.

But apparently, no one should underestimate American justice. The Texas attorney announced that was the strangest criminal case in the state territory so far.

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