Jailhouse letter adds wrinkle in case of mom accused of killing husband, then writing kids’ book

Sep 22, 2023, 3:07 PM

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Jailhouse writings by a Utah mother accused of killing her husband, then writing a children’s book about death, have led prosecutors to accuse her of trying to tamper with witnesses, an allegation that her attorneys say is baseless.

A relative of Kouri Richins meanwhile went public in an interview Friday to assert her innocence — a development foretold by Richins’ writings filed in court days earlier. In that letter, which was found in a textbook in her jail cell, Kouri Richins wrote that her attorney, Skye Lazaro, would arrange for “my girls” to do an interview with “Good Morning America.”

“We know Kouri is innocent. And all of that is going to come out in court. And I think that’s going to shock people,” said her brother, identified only as “DJ” in the “Good Morning America” interview.

Lazaro did not return phone and email messages Friday seeking clarification on whether “DJ” is the same brother who Richins referred to as “Ronney” in the letter.

“When I got the news that Eric died, I broke down into tears. He was a good guy. I mean, he lived life to the extreme and eventually it got him,” the brother said in the televised interview.

Prosecutors say Kouri Richins, 33, poisoned Eric Richins, 39, by slipping five times the lethal dose of fentanyl into a Moscow mule cocktail she made for him last year.

After her husband’s death, the mother of three self-published a children’s book titled “Are You With Me?” about a deceased father wearing angel wings who watched over his sons. She promoted the book on TV and radio, describing the book as a way to help children grieve the loss of a loved one.

Richins’ attorneys point out that no drugs were found at the family home after her husband’s death. They’ve also suggested that a witness, a housekeeper who says she sold Kouri Richins the drugs, had motivation to lie as she sought leniency in the face of state and federal drug charges.

Prosecutors on Sept. 15 filed a six-page, handwritten document they say Kouri Richins wrote and that a sheriff’s deputy found in her cell in a prep book for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), according to court documents.

In the document, on which “Walk The Dog!!” is written in large letters at the top of the first page, Richins suggests a scenario in which “Ronney” would have talked with her husband about his “Mexico trips” to get “pain pills & fentanyl.”

“Reword this however he needs to, to make the point. Just include it all,” reads the document. Apparently addressed to Richins’ mother, the document closes by calling her “the best mom in the whole world!”

Prosecutors allege the document outlines potential witness tampering. Richins’ attorneys countered that those are “unsupported conclusions.”

Prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty against Richins after conferring with the victim’s father and two sisters.

A judge earlier this year ordered Richins to remain in jail pending trial.

Prosecutors say Richins planned at length to kill her husband, making financial arrangements and purchasing drugs found in his system after his March 2022 death.

Richins made major changes to the family’s estate plans and took out life insurance policies on him with benefits totaling nearly $2 million, prosecutors allege. Her attorneys counter that the prosecution’s case based on financial motives proved she was “bad at math,” not guilty of murder.

Richins, meanwhile, is facing a lawsuit seeking over $13 million in damages for alleged financial wrongdoing before and after his death.

The lawsuit filed in state court by Katie Richins, the sister of Eric Richins, accuses Kouri Richins of taking money from her husband’s accounts, diverting money intended to pay his taxes and obtaining a fraudulent loan, among other things, before his death.

United States News

Work continues on the roof of Gaido's restaurant in preparation for opening for diners for the firs...

Associated Press

In beachy Galveston, locals buckle down without power after Beryl’s blow during peak tourist season

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Vacuums sucked the water out of the seaside inn run by Nick Gaido’s family in Galveston since 1911 as power was still spotty nearly one week after a resurgent Hurricane Beryl swept into Texas. Blue tarp covered much of the torn off roof. Gaido scheduled cleanup shifts for the hotel and […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Balloons are hoisted to the ceiling in the Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Conve...

Associated Press

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here’s how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for a roll call vote to select a the Republican presidential nominee, formally ending the presidential primary. It will be a moment lacking in suspense: Former President Donald Trump has already been the presumptive nominee for months, having clinched a […]

2 hours ago

Members of the Coalition to March on the RNC speak during a news conference ahead of the 2024 Repub...

Associated Press

GOP convention protests are on despite shooting at Trump rally

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Activists gathering in Milwaukee for the start of the Republican National Convention say the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump won’t affect their long-standing plans to demonstrate outside the convention site this week. A diverse range of organizations and activists is expected outside the downtown Fiserv Forum. The largest expected demonstration […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republic...

Associated Press

Floor fights, boos and a too-long kiss. How the dramatic and the bizarre define convention history

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1948, the Republican and Democratic parties did something unthinkable in today’s climate of ferocious political animosity: They not only held their national conventions in the same city, but shared some of the props. Both gathered in Philadelphia, largely because its Municipal Auditorium had already been fitted with the wiring needed for […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

The RNC’s first day will still focus on the economy. Here’s what to know about Trump’s plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S. economy, but he has sketched out notably few details about how his plans would actually work. The convention’s first day is still expected to focus on the economy even after Saturday’s shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Wayne LaPierre arrives at court, Jan. 24, 2024, in New York. The second phase of the civil t...

Associated Press

Second phase of NRA civil trial over nonprofit’s spending set to open in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The second phase of the civil trial against the National Rifle Association and its top executives is set to begin Monday in Manhattan, with New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking an independent monitor to oversee the powerful gun rights group. The Democrat also is seeking to ban Wayne LaPierre, the […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Jailhouse letter adds wrinkle in case of mom accused of killing husband, then writing kids’ book