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Bond denied for Flowery Branch native accused of sending ricin-laced letters

POSTED: September 11, 2013 11:00 p.m.
/Associated Press

Shannon Guess Richardson

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TEXARKANA, Texas— The Flowery Branch native accused of mailing poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others has been ordered to remain behind bars until her trial.

Shannon Guess Richardson appeared Wednesday morning for a detention hearing in federal court in Texarkana, Texas, where a federal magistrate denied her request for bond. U.S. Magistrate Caroline Craven ruled that Richardson was a serious flight risk.

Authorities say Richardson, who now lives in New Boston, Texas, moving there a couple of years ago from Jackson County, sent ricin-laced letters to Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a leader of the mayor’s gun-control group. Court documents state she then tried to pin the crime on Nathan Richardson, whom she married in 2011. He filed for divorce earlier this year.

Authorities have determined the letters were mailed from New Boston — about 150 miles northeast of Dallas — or Texarkana and postmarked in Shreveport, La.

“What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what ive got in store for you mr president,” the letter to Obama says, according to Shannon Richardson’s federal indictment.

According to an FBI affidavit, she first contacted authorities to implicate Nathan Richardson in the scheme. But she failed a polygraph exam and investigators found inconsistencies in her story, according to the affidavit.

Shannon Richardson, who has had minor television and film roles under the name Shannon Guess, later admitted she mailed the letters but maintained her husband made her do it, according to the affidavit.

If inhaled, ricin can cause respiratory failure, among other symptoms. If swallowed, it can shut down the liver and other organs, resulting in death. The amount of ricin that can fit on the head of a pin is said to be enough to kill an adult if properly prepared. No antidote is available, though researchers have been trying to develop one.

Shannon Richardson is charged with two counts of threat by mail and one of threatening the president. She remains jailed after giving birth in July.

Each charge carries up to five years in prison.


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