Do you remember a few months ago when a woman that everyone kept calling a “Walking Dead actress” was arrested for sending poison to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg? Now she admits she did it.
In addition to a small role on AMC’s hit zombie drama—so small that no one involved in the show actually remembers her—Shannon Richardson played minute parts on Vampire Diaries and in The Blind Side. More than any bit of acting, however, she’s gained notoriety for stuffing envelopes full of ricin poison and mailing them to public figures.
Richardson entered a guilty plea on Tuesday in a Texarkana, Texas federal court. Charged with both possessing and producing the deadly toxin, she set up a deal that would cap her prison time at 18 years. That’s about as good as you can hope for when you threaten to kill the President, people like the Secret Service don’t take too kindly to that.
The 35-year-old mailed a trio of letters from New Boston, Texas, outside of her Texarkana home. Richardson was arrested back in June when she told authorities that it was her husband, Nathan Richardson, who had recently filed for divorce, that sent the letters. You can only wonder why he wanted a divorce; she seems so stable. Her story was laced with inconsistencies, and it later came to light that the mother of six purchased the materials to make ricin, including castor beans, online.
According to her plea, Richardson set up an email address, PayPal account, and post office box in her husband’s name. Her statement reads, “After he left the house, I printed the mailing labels for President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Mark Glaze with The Raben Group.”
Gun control seems to be Richardson’s biggest gripe. Bloomberg has long advocated for stricter gun laws, and Glaze is the head of an organization called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which, as you probably guessed, is in favor of stricter gun laws. Her letter to Obama read, “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.”
Richardson declined to name anyone else who may have been involved, aside from trying to blame her husband, but she did not say that she made the ricin, which causes respiratory failure if inhaled, herself.
Though Richardson’s attorney says that her client could face a maximum of 18 years in prison, prosecutors say that she could still face life in prison. A federal judge will ultimately decide her sentence at a hearing that has yet to be scheduled.