A former actress on The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead is facing federal charges after being accused of mailing letters laced with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Shannon Guess, also known as Shannon Richardson and Shannon Rogers, initially accused her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson, of mailing the ricin letters. She reported him to the FBI, claiming she had found ricin in the couple’s refrigerator and searches for how to make ricin on their home computer. The pregnant mother of five claimed Nathaniel Richardson was responsible for sending the ricin letters to Obama, Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, director of the anti-gun organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
A polygraph exam, commonly known as a lie detector test, found Shannon Guess to be “deceptive” about the circumstances around how the ricin letters came to be mailed. Shannon then reportedly told investigators that she did mail the letters, but that her husband wrote them and forced her to mail them. Her attorney told CNN the actress plans to plead not guilty to all charges.
Shannon’s husband has totally denied all involvement in the creation of the ricin or the mailing of the poisoned letters and said his wife was “intentionally misleading” investigators. Appearing on The Today Show, Nathaniel Richardson said he had no idea his estranged wife might be capable of such a thing. When asked how she could have the technical knowledge to make the ricin, Nathaniel said she was a “very intelligent woman” and that was one of the things he had initially found attractive about her.
According to law enforcement, authorities now believe that Shannon Guess may have mailed the ricin letters with the intent to frame her husband, a U.S. Army veteran, whom she was very angry with and wanted to divorce. She will apparently be getting that last desire fulfilled as her husband has now filed for divorce himself.
Shannon Guess has played appeared in small roles as a student on The Vampire Diaries, a waitress on Drop Dead Diva, and as a zombie in The Walking Dead. She has also appeared in bit parts in films such as The Blind Side and Madea’s Big Happy Family. Shannon Richardson, who has been married three times, has five children ranging from 4 to 19, none fathered by Nathaniel. She is reportedly currently pregnant with the former couple's first child together.