UPDATE: TEXARKANA (KYTX) - Shannon Guess Richardson, the woman accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in prison on a biological weapons charge.
Guess who appeared before a federal judge in Texarkana could've received a life sentence.
On December 10, 2013, Shannon Guess Richardson pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with possession of a toxin for use as a weapon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven. Richardson was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on June 27, 2013, charging her with threatening the President of the United States, mailing a threatening letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and mailing a threatening letter to Mark Glaze in Washington, D.C.
Richardson was sentenced to 216 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $367,222.29.
"Today's sentencing brings an appropriate and just end to what is surely one of our most unusual, even bizarre cases," said U.S. Attorney Bales. "The investigation was also very challenging and I hope that East Texans are encouraged to know that their East Texas law enforcement proved to be amazingly resourceful, determined and focused in all facets of this prosecution. It was truly a great job."
According to the information presented in court, during April-May 2013, Richardson made several online purchases of items for the purpose of producing ricin. These supplies included castor bean seeds and sodium hydroxide (lye). Ricin is a biological toxin that can be fatal if ingested, inhaled, or injected. There is no known antidote or cure for ricin poisoning.
Richardson subsequently placed ricin onto threat letters addressed to President Barack Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mark Glaze.
On May 20, 2013, Richardson mailed the three threatening letters from the New Boston, Texas, Post Office. On May 30, 2013, Richardson traveled to the Shreveport, LA, Police Department and reported that her husband was responsible for the ricin-laced letters.
Richardson was arrested on June 7, 2013, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and has been detained since that time.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the New Boston, Texas Police Department, the Shreveport, Louisiana, Police Department and the New York City Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank Coan, Ryan Locker, and Brit Featherston as well as Trial Attorney Jolie Zimmerman of the Justice Department's National Security Division.
In February, she told CBS 19 by hand-written letter that she was asking the Texas Bar Association and a federal judge to investigate her counsel, Tyler attorney Tonda Curry, on allegations that she's misused about $57,000 of her money without adequate counsel.
Richardson appeared in court for an ex parte hearing in which media were asked to leave. She asked that her earlier request to have Tonda curry removed from her case be rescinded. Curry tells CBS 19 that there are no hard feelings with her client, and says that Sharon is holding up okay despite 10 months of setbacks. She faces up to 18 years in prison, but sentencing is not yet scheduled.
June 20 - Bowie county judge Jeff Addison dismisses Sharon's petition and grants custody of Allen, Taylor, Ethan and Logan Guess to their father, David Guess, in Jackson county, Georgia. Finalized Oct. 24 January 28 - Divorce granted, and Brody Nathaniel Richardson rights to Nathaniel. Shannon as possessor conservator, but no contact with the child. Husband gets furnishings, cars, money, 401(k), an cost of cleanup of ricin from the home, which Shannon must reimburse.