Everyone who writes letters laced with ricin is insane, for more than one reason, but these two may take the cake. The absurd couple at the heart of the latest ricin investigation are almost as ridiculous as the duelling Elvis impersonator and the taekwondo instructor implicated in the last ricin plot.
Yesterday the FBI were focusing their investigation into the latest round of ricin-laced letters on Nathaniel Richardson, a 37-year-old Army veteran living in New Boston, Texas who still does contract work for the Defense Department. Similarly worded letters laced with ricin were received by the President, New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control advocacy group. This was the second time in two months the President was mailed something laced with ricin. Richardon's wife allegedly tipped off police after she found a Tupperware container with ricin in their fridge. But because this is a ricin investigation, things don't go that smoothly.
No, there has to be some ridiculous set-up at the heart of a ricin letter scandal. During his interview with FBI investigators Friday, CBS reports Richardson pointed the finger at his actress wife, 36-year-old Shannon Rogers Guess. She's currently pregnant but the two are going through a divorce. Guess has five other children from previous relationships, on top of the one she's currently carrying with Richardson. She is perhaps best known for her role as a zombie on The Walking Dead. It's unclear what either of them would benefit from a ricin-letter set-up.
The New York Post has more details: Guess told investigators she found a Tupperware container full of castor beans, which are used to make ricin, in their fridge. She also allegedly told investigators she found searches for ricin instructions on their computer. But the beans were bought with a credit card, and Richardson told investigators he doesn't use credit cards. CBS News reports Guess "knows specific details" about the letters.
Whoever mailed the letter did a real hack job of the ricin brewing, according to ABC News. "It may not have been correctly made," a source told the network. "Clearly amateur hour. This is not the national threat as some are making it out to be."
This is arguably even better than the ridiculous dispute between J. Everett Dutschke, the 41-year-old former bluesman and taekwondo instructor, and Kevin Paul Curtis, the 45-year-old Elvis impersonator, that resulted in the last round of ricin letters. Dutschke tried to set up Curtis as part of their years-long feud that started over a fraudulent Mensa membership posted to Myspace.
So those are the cases the happy couple presented against each other. (I can only imagine the divorce proceedings.) Both are still suspects, and the FBI has a tent set-up on their lawn now. They're each taking polygraph tests, so it will be a battle of who is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
[Inset via IMDB]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.