A Texas man suspected of mailing letters tainted with the neurotoxin ricin to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told federal officials his wife sent the letters and is trying to frame him. According to the New York Post, 33-year-old Nathaniel Richardson was released from custody Friday because officials did not have enough evidence to hold him.
Richardson, a U.S. Army veteran, was arrested Thursday at the Red River Army Depot where he works. He was interrogated for hours at a Texarkana courthouse before he was released. Investigators found castor beans in Richardson’s car, which are used to make ricin, but no other evidence was forthcoming.
During questioning, Richardson told investigators that his wife, 36-year-old Shannon Rogers Guess had sent the letters in an effort to frame him. A source told the Post that both Richardson and Guess will be given polygraph tests.
Guess has had bit parts on TV shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Walking Dead.” She is currently pregnant, and was also questioned by police.
Richardson is Guess’ fourth husband. Guess summoned police to the couple’s house in New Boston, Texas on Thursday saying that she had found a sealed Tupperware bowl in the refrigerator containing a substance she said “looked like ricin,” according to a source who spoke to the Post.
The couple are in the midst of a divorce. Richardson insisted to FBI investigators that he did not purchase the castor beans used to make the poison, which were bought with a credit card. The former soldier reportedly told authorities he doesn’t use credit cards.
Late Thursday, Guess assisted investigators, who removed computers and electronics devices from the couple’s home. She told them she discovered instructions on how to make ricin in the house and that “somebody” had performed computer searches for information about President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg on the home’s computers.
WNBC reported that the letters 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. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die.” and “What’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you.”
Richardson left the courthouse in the company of his father and declined to comment to the Post. Guess, who has five children from her previous marriages, also declined to comment.
The letters were reportedly sent from Shreveport, Louisiana, which is about 100 miles from New Boston.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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