Texas Actress Sentenced to Prison for Ricin-Laced Letters

Shannon Richardson is pictured in this booking photo, courtesy of Titus County Sheriffs Office. /AP Shannon Richardson is pictured in this booking photo, courtesy of Titus County Sheriff's Office. /AP

An actress from the American television series The Walking Dead and the movie The Blind Side is off to prison after mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and the mayor of New York City.

A federal judge Wednesday sentenced 36-year-old Shannon Guess Richardson of Texas to 18 years in prison -- the maximum under a plea agreement for possessing and producing a biological toxin.

Richardson sent the ricin-laced letters to Obama and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May 2013. She then went to police and accused her husband of the crime. He had filed for divorce.

Inconsistencies in Richardson's accounts led investigators to believe she was the one who sent the letters. She was arrested a month later.

Richardson, it was learned, ordered castor beans online to make ricin.

Ricin is a toxin that can cause respiratory failure if inhaled.

VOA News / Jul. 18, 2014 08:15 KST