An actress who had minor roles on The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead was charged Friday in connection with allegedly sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last month, CNN reports.
Shannon Rogers Richardson, also known under her stage name Shannon Rogers Guess, was arrested by federal law enforcement officials, they announced Friday. She appeared in a Texarkana, Texas, courtroom and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston said.
Richardson initially blamed her estranged husband, Nathan Richardson, for sending the letters that contained low levels of ricin and were postmarked from Shreveport, La.
The actress denied any connection to the letters. "I really can't say much at all but the accusation couldn't be further from the truth," she said in a statement to E! News. "I would not put my unborn child or other children in danger just to 'frame' someone. He simply needed someone to blame for what he has done and I was the obvious person for him to blame. Most of what is being reported in this case is absolutely inaccurate. That's all I can say. Thank you for asking for my side of this instead of running with the inaccuracies many others are publishing."
Nathan hired an attorney, John Delk, originally to assist with his divorce — but is now employing him to represent him in the ricin investigation. According to Delk, "There are a lot of factors I'm aware of that indicate [Nathaniel Richardson] was set up in this deal by her," the Associated Press reports.
The actress is currently pregnant with Nathan Richardson's child and is due in October. She has five other children from previous relationships.
Shannon Richardson played a student named Stephanie in a 2009 episode of Vampire Diaries and a walker in the Walking Dead premiere. She also appeared in the 2011 Teen Wolf pilot. Richardson previously made news for a completely different reason — for donating bone marrow to a child in need.
A Mississippi man was arrested in April for connection to three ricin letters sent to the president, a local judge and congressman.